The dialogue is an educational process around the understanding that racism is an institutional construct that was built into our system, and much of it exists today unintentionally and indirectly. Because the current narrative has developed around sketches of unrelated conversations, which are often based on myths, this creates misunderstandings that leave people unclear on racism and its definition and operation. Many often believe it’s a thing of the past.
The Dialogue series is designed to offer a series of conversations that help participants unpack the confusion and misinformation around race. Race is so often left out of the education of most Americans starting from their developing years.
The dialogue is structured in six consecutive sessions for two-hours each.
Each gathering is limited to 15 participants. The sessions are led by a team of trained facilitators usually of diverse ethnicities. The six sessions explore various aspects of racism from its origin, to its operation, and its impact on society. Participants prepare for the discussions by reading factual articles before each session.
The Format of each session
During each session, the facilitators set an environment for open, honest, brave conversation. The format of the discussion is around three topic questions with 10-minute breaks during each session:
- Topic Question 1 looks at the information in each article/video and asks what stood out to you the most?
- Topic Question 2 asks you where you recognize, have experienced, and/or observed instances of racism related to the specific session’s topic that we are on that day.
- Topic Question 3 focuses on what you would like to see done or changed, and what you can see yourself doing.
Here are the sessions that participants will experience each week:
- Session I: Terms and Distinctions Necessary for Talking About Race & A Brief History of Constructing Race – We begin giving clarity to the terms we will use throughout the series as well as a brief history of race and its link to building the country.
- Session II: Understanding the Meaning of Whiteness – We present an understanding of how the race structure determined the meaning of whiteness.
- Session III: Understanding Institutional Racism – We show how institutions were empowered to ensure full institutional access to those who are white, by limiting access to those who are not, and how understanding power is important to change.
- Session IV: Struggle and Transformation – We cover the movement that led to the Civil Rights Act, with a focus on one of its leaders, Dr. Martin Luther King.
- Session V: Affirmative Action – We look at the measures put in place with the intention of leveling the playing field, and we recognize the fact that it is still a controversial issue. This session looks at the issue in that context.
- Session VI: Talk Is Action – We respond to the often-asked question, “Why is talking about race an important part of ending racism?” We show that it is the kind of talk and the strategies used that matter.
Our motto is “talk is action,” and we prepare you for the kind of talk that can lead to meaningful understanding and informed action.
This was a wonderful experience which I felt really brought home the concepts of institutional racism and white privilege. Our group was soon comfortable with each other and able to have an open dialogue on these tough concepts via the guidance of our two wonderful moderators. I strongly recommend this to anyone who wants to understand how racism is having an impact on people of color in the modern world.
- Heather M.
The Dialogue on Race series has been one of the most significant learning experiences I've ever had the pleasure to be a part of. I highly recommend it to anyone who's seriously interested in having an open and honest dialogue (not debate) on race and who also wants to play their role in dismantling racism in our community.
- Eric D.