Francesca Maximé – ReRooted – Ep. 27 – Decentering Whiteness with Robin Mallison Alpern

Robin Mallison Alpern

Robin Mallison Alpern of the Center for the Study of White American Culture joins Francesca Maximé for a conversation about the work involved in decentering whiteness.

Robin Mallison Alpern is the Director of Training at the Center for the Study of White American Culture (CSWAC). She has had a lifelong concern for racial justice and equity, and her anti-racist activism has taken a variety of forms. Learn more about Robin and CSWAC at, and be sure to check out their online workshop on Decentering Whiteness and Building Multiracial Community

Decentering Whiteness

Francesca welcomes Robin to ReRooted and asks about her work with CSWAC, which is an organization that studies what it means to have a cultural identity as a white person. They talk about CSWAC’s latest offering, a course on decentering white culture, and how so many white people have lost touch with their cultural roots.

“You might make the mistake of thinking whiteness only goes where white people are, but because of the culture, everybody has been conditioned in it.” – Robin Mallison Alpern

Francesca Maximé explores roots deeper than whiteness on ReRooted Ep. 14
A System of Oppression (27:10)

Robin explores the definition of racism, and how it is truly a system of oppression. It’s not about the individual, it’s about the system as a whole. She and Francesca touch on the concepts of intersectionality and cultural appropriation, and how this work should not be about getting caught up in guilt for white people.

“Racism is the system of oppression of people of color by white people, that’s what racism is.” – Robin Mallison Alpern

Racial Affinity Groups (53:05)

Francesca and Robin talk more about the messy process of decentering whiteness, and the beautiful results it can produce. They touch on the concept of limbic hijacking, and the power of racial affinity groups. Robin ends with a personal story of how her work with decentering whiteness has led to deeper connections with people of color.

“You cannot go up against a system like racism by yourself. And yet, white people have been trained in that rugged individualism.” – Robin Mallison Alpern

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