> Do I need to have done ancestry research already in order to take this course?
No. You’ll be doing a little research during the course, and finding out how to do more as time goes on.
> Will I come away from this course an expert in genealogical research?
Absolutely not. This course will provide you with some pointers to research a single ancestor enough to be able to begin to tell their story.
> Will I be able to take this course if I am adopted, or estranged from my birth family?
Yes, you will absolutely be able to take this course if you are adopted or estranged from your birth family. Ancestors of nurturance are just as valid as genetic ancestors.
> What if I find out something horrible about the ancestor I’m researching?
That is definitely a possibility — whether that is something horrible they did, something horrible that was done to them, or both.
There is support for you within the course from peers, via the dedicated online community, and from me as well as your peers via live group support calls every other week. If you take this course, you will also gain access to reduced fee one-to-one Sanctuary Sessions with me.
If, given the support that will be available, you are still concerned about your ability to deal with finding out something unwanted about an ancestor during this course, it is possible it is not for you at this time. Get in touch if you want to discuss it with me.
> How will finding out about white ancestors help me in tackling racism and white supremacy now? Isn’t this course centering whiteness?
I am all for decentering whiteness, but we can only decentre ourselves if we know where we are. Many white people do not know where we are, within the global, historical context of racism, white supremacy and colonialism, because we are too afraid to really look. This course attempts to address that.
> Why is this course for white people? Don’t all people deserve to tell their ancestors’ stories?
Yes, absolutely, everyone deserves to tell their ancestors’ stories. And yes, there would be value in a course for a group of people containing both white people and people of colour telling their ancestors’ stories together. But this is not that course.
This course is specifically designed as a space for white people, and other people who benefit personally from white privilege in significant ways, to begin to address the inheritance of whiteness, racism, white supremacy, and colonialism from their ancestral lineage, while at the same time honouring their ancestors in all their complexity.
It is a space for white people to work together to better resource ourselves for our part in dismantling white supremacy, without causing (yet more) harm and pain to black people, indigenous people, and people of colour (BIPOC) in the process.
> I have some white ancestors, and some ancestors of colour. Will I be welcome on this course?
You will be very welcome on this course. At the same time, I ask you to consider carefully whether this course is likely to be a space that will be safe and constructive for you to do this work, given that your peers will likely be mostly white people. I will do my best to make it so, but I cannot make guarantees about other participants’ behaviour or perspectives. Ultimately, the decision is yours. Get in touch if you would like to chat about your decision with me.
> Will I need to make sure all my language is politically correct to take this course?
“Politically correct” basically means respectful. If you are able to commit to behaving respectfully, in your words and actions, you are welcome on this course. Having said that, one person’s version of respectful is another person’s version of deep disrespect.
We are human beings: we will make mistakes, and sometimes the impact of our words and actions will not match up with our intentions. If and when these things happen, I will do my best to slow the interaction down, check how a statement has been understood before proceeding with any kind of response, and I ask all participants to do the same.
> You only mention whiteness/racism in this course outline. What about other types of oppression?
In this course the focus is on white ancestry, and inheritances of racism, white supremacy, and colonialism, therefore, that has been the focus of the course outline. But every group of people contains privileged and marginalised groups and individuals, and almost all individuals are both privileged and marginalised in different ways. For example, I am white, highly educated, and a home-owner; I am also chronically ill, queer, genderqueer, neurodivergent, a target for misogyny, and have had a low income for a long time.
I invite all participants to work together to centre the marginalised within our group, and to make the space safer for everyone.
> Will you be supporting any BIPOC organisations from the proceeds of this course?
Yes. 10% of any profits from this course will be shared between National Bailout (USA), Southall Black Sisters (UK), Native Women’s Association of Canada (Canada), and Yirra Yaakin Theatre Company (Australia).