The University of Minnesota is now offering a special webinar series based on the 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous to recover from “white conditioning.”
The two-hour “Recovery from White Conditioning” lecture, hosted through the school’s Center for Practice Transformation, features therapist Cristina Combs. Combs, a Minnesota alumnus, created the program after struggling with her “whiteness in her personal, academic, and professional journeys,” according to the university website.
The program commences by offering a “spectrum of recovery” from white supremacy, by acknowledging that she is on “traditional Dakota land,” the territory of a Native American tribe that settled in Minnesota. She also acknowledges “George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and all of the other lives stolen from families and communities and our world due to police brutality and state-sanctioned violence.”
She then says that the goal of the course is to “deconstruct” and “decentralize” whiteness to “expose it, to study its pattern, and to transform its violent legacies.” Her opening statement is followed by a slideshow that sums up the program, in which she asks: “What comes to mind when you hear the term ‘white supremacy?’”
She runs through slides showing typical images people associate with the term: the KKK, neo-Nazis, tiki-torches. However, the last slide shows the face of Combs herself, as she poses the question: “Why would I put my face on this list of white supremacists?”
Combs then bizarrely offers herself up as an example and acknowledges her own “white supremacy.”
“Accepting myself as a part of white supremacy is a freedom of sorts.”