Two weeks ago armed Ku Klux Klan members demonstrated in Hillsborough, leading to a much larger anti-racist demonstration there.
Though the Orange County Sheriff’s Department announced its intention to arrest some of the demonstrators for carrying firearms in a political demonstration there had been, as of this week, no arrests.
With those tensions still lingering and many wondering how to confront racism in their communities, Dr. David Campt is teaching a course on “Encouraging and Equipping Anti-racism Allies” in Hillsborough this weekend.
Billing himself as “The Dialogue Guy,” Campt has gotten national media attention — including an appearance on Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show” last year — for his books and workshops on effectively confronting racism and how white allies best can help anti-racism efforts.
“Talking about racism should focus on what is done, the action, the impact, not whether someone is a racist,” Campt said. “Focusing on saying that whether so-and-so is a racist, is counterproductive. This diverts our attention to an emotional discussion of a personality instead of what the racist behavior is actually doing.”
His talk in Hillsborough will center on lessons from his book “The White Ally Toolkit.”
“The White Ally Toolkit workshop is for allies wanting to make a difference on racism, with emphasis on using practical, non-antagonistic and persuasive conversational-listening skills among their friends and circle of influence,” Campt said in a statement about the event this week.
Campt — who is originally from Eden, NC — said his workshop will answer some common questions on racism and effective dialogue, including:
- What does the latest scientific research say about the keys to persuading others?
- How relevant are tools of empathetic listening and non-violent communication?
- How can my own racial background and perspective be used to help me engage skeptics?
- What are effective approaches for strategically addressing racially problematic behaviors?
- How do I make good and courageous choices about engaging difficult racial moments?
- What is a good sequence of issues to cover when trying to expand a skeptic’s perspective?
“More people need to know how to talk to the people that white nationalists are targeting,” Campt said. “The natural tendency is to avoid talking to them or to chastise them. At the workshops, we teach strategies that are more effective in turning them away from hatred.”
The event will be held in two sessions from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 14 at the Universalist Unitarian Congregation of Hillsborough, 1710 Old N.C. 10 in Hillsborough. Spaces are limited with admission rangin from $30 to $75. Those interested can get more information through calling (919) 644-0567.