“Opposing Racism through the Lens of Franco-American Experiences” showcases stories of New England’s Franco-Americans who were targeted by white supremacy groups in the 1920s. New England’s Franco-Americans were not assimilating into the American way of life as other immigrants were doing (e.g., they strove to preserve their French language). This event is one of a series of in-person workshops throughout the Midwest, using selections from Ben Levine’s “Waking Up French” documentary to share the little-known and startling history of Franco-American oppression.
Our goal is to connect Franco-Americans with their heritage and with each other, sharing their stories and developing a sense of belonging to undo a legacy of forced isolation. For students of French and other humanities disciplines, this workshop will offer insights on how to ethically collect oral histories and use storytelling to advance goals related to increasing diversity, equity, and inclusion. Furthermore, this workshop will help white people who want to be anti-racist gain a deeper understanding of how different European groups were offered access to white privilege; to comprehend how white supremacy and Protestant Christian supremacy interact today; and to use their personal relationship to this history to divest from white supremacy and inspire anti-racist action.