These interventions have much in common with Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and have a high likelihood of effectiveness given that they are relatively simple to implement and designed specifically to address racial psychological processes. Anti-racism interventions geared toward motivated white participants often hit a predictable snag. When white people process “racial issues” in mixed company — racial justice activism or diversity training, for example — we are often seen venting our obsessive racial defenses, sucking all the air out of the room.
This defensive lack of awareness, which Robin DiAngelo skewers as a privileged vulnerability to “race-based stress,” often lands on people of color as yet another incidence of ignorance at best, and at worst, further emotional trauma. What is a treatment plan for whiteness that doesn’t simultaneously inflict more pain? The twelve-step model — Whiteness Anonymous, if you will — offers the benefit of anonymity and privacy, thus protecting people of color from the inevitable messiness of white racial self-exploration, as well as encouraging white people who are too inhibited to participate in a public discussion.