“America is race.”
The late Julian Bond spoke these words while addressing a group of college students a few months before his death. His statement has always been true, but its weight feels especially heavy when reflecting on the past year, a year when teachers and students were burdened by the news of Michael Brown’s, Eric Garner’s and Sandra Bland’s police-related deaths, as well as the massacre of nine African Americans at a church in Charleston, South Carolina. Students—some of whom were hearing about such incidents for the first time and others who were no strangers to race-related violence and tension—raised serious and urgent questions about these news events and about their own experiences with race and racism. Members of the Teaching Tolerance community turned to us for resources to help them facilitate these conversations with students.
Introducing Let’s Talk! Discussing Race, Racism and Other Difficult Topics With Students, the newest publication from Teaching Tolerance, and part of an ongoing series of resources we’ve produced in response to requests from our audience.
Let’s Talk! offers exercises to help you assess your own comfort level when talking about racism and other forms of oppression, and suggestions for how to push through the discomfort and uncertainty that often stand in the way of having these necessary talks. The resource also details several strategies you can use with students to help them stay focused and safe while discussing topics that may generate disagreement or strong emotions. (There are special adaptations for elementary-aged children.) The guide concludes with an extensive list of professional development resources and student-facing activities to help build knowledge and skills and jump-start classroom conversations that prioritize student voice.
Although Let’s Talk! was written specifically to help educators overcome barriers to talking about race and racism, the guidance it offers can largely be applied to other difficult topics like gender discrimination, anti-LGBT prejudice, ableism and religious persecution.
Teaching Tolerance is also offering a free Let’s Talk! webinar to help users get acquainted with the guide and offer an opportunity to ask questions of our teaching and learning specialists. The webinar will broadcast live on September 30 at 4:30 pm CDT. Register for the live event, and you’ll receive a link to the recording if you can’t attend on the scheduled date.
If “America is race,” then it is essential that we learn to talk about it effectively and help our students do the same. We hope you will read, comment and tell us how the conversations go.
- Coming Soon! Our Fall Webinars
- NEW Webinars From Teaching Tolerance!
- COMING SOON: Webinars on School Climate and Responsive Discipline
- School Climate Resources
- The Best of 2016
- Teaching About Race, Racism and Police Violence
- Our Spring Webinars Are All About Equity
- Toolkit for "Begin Within"
- Rochester, NY: “Black Lives Matter at School”
- Discovering My Identity