How to Talk About Race
“How to Talk about Race” is a free 4-week program framework for learning how to moderate discussions about race. Though this material can be used by anyone, we designed it specifically to equip library employees with the skills to run effective and considerate book discussions, group conversations, and other programs about race in their communities.
Conversations about race are deeply personal and can be polarizing. The environment fostered in this learning circle should be one centered around compassion, understanding, dedication, and respect. In order to take full advantage of this experience, we ask all participants to:
Dedicate yourself to participating fully by being present during meetings, working consciously through feelings of discomfort or bias, and creating opportunities for others to do the same.
Make a commitment to learn from others by actively creating a space that is safe and respectful to all. It takes courage and vulnerability to share one’s lived experiences: when someone shares a story, believe them.
In order to talk about race, it is imperative to understand larger issues of race including:
The extent that race impacts your daily life and your interactions in the systems surrounding us
How implicit bias impacts our own perceptions of race
How we frame things
In gaining a deeper understanding of moderating conversations relating to race, participants will learn how to:
Establish ground rules for a group discussion
Use and understand the purpose of an Identity Wheel
Understand the concept & benefits of “lived experiences” and “framing and naming racism”
Understand the fluid nature of verbiage relating to matters of race
Navigate customer service scenarios relating to race
Manage disruptive participants
Utilize literature to drive community conversations about race
Is this Learning Circle free?
Yes! These learning materials are free to access and to run as a program in your community. This learning circle was created in collaboration with P2PU which also works diligently to create equal access of information for all people.
What is the time frame of this Learning Circle?
We recommend facilitating this course over 4 weeks: once a week for 60–90 min sessions.
Do I have to run the course as it is outlined?
No! Our content is a guideline for your own venture into the forays of facilitating conversations about race. This material is more effective when it can connect personally to learners, so we encourage you to customize the content based on your local area’s history, your personal intentions for running this program, and the learning goals of your attendees.
What happens when I complete this learning circle?
Our content is designed to be an introduction to social justice advocacy. We hope that you continue to educate yourself, explore new materials and content relating to racial equity & inclusion, spread the word with others and have the confidence to start taking a stand whenever you see injustices happening in the world. If you’re looking for further learning materials, we encourage you to start with this reading list or by checking out these resources for anti-racism education.
The content for this Learning Circle was originally designed and facilitated as a 4hr in-person workshop.
Read What Others Are Saying About Our Workshop
“This content will help me in my day to day interactions not only with our patrons but also with my coworkers. I never understood privilege until today, and I sincerely thank you for providing the forum to discuss and self-evaluate.”