Talking about race, although hard, is necessary. We are here to provide tools and guidance to empower your journey and inspire conversation.
A lifelong journey
Talking about race starts with personal reflection:
When were you first aware of your race?
What do you remember from childhood about how you made sense of human differences? What confused you?
What childhood experiences did you have with friends or adults who were different from you in some way?
How, if ever, did any adult give you help thinking about racial differences?
Why talking about race matters
Everyone has a racialized identity.
Racialized identity has major impact on a person’s life.
Race is a defining social construct in American life.
Who Am I?
I Am an Educator
Whether you are teaching infants, adults, or any age in between, you are an influential part of your students’ learning and development. Educators too have an important role in communicating our history and culture. What and how the history of race in America is presented is an opportunity to engage in thoughtful, respectful, and productive conversations. Start, continue, or expand the conversation with us.
There’s no quick or foolproof way to talk about the complexities of race with your child(ren). But, it’s a conversation all families need to have, no matter your race, background, education or experience. Let’s get started, continue, or expand the conversation together.
You care about making the world a more equitable and just place for all. You may just be starting to think about your role and ability to impact others, or, you may be further along on your journey. Wherever you are, what you do and say matters. Explore how to speak and engage constructively about race, so we can all grow together.
No one is born racist or antiracist; these result from the choices we make. Being antiracist results from a conscious decision to make frequent, consistent, equitable choices daily. These choices require ongoing self-awareness and self-reflection as we move through life. In the absence of making antiracist choices, we (un)consciously uphold aspects of white supremacy, white-dominant culture, and unequal institutions and society. Being racist or antiracist is not about who you are; it is about what you do.
The scientific consensus is that race has no biological basis – that we are all one race, the human race. Racialized identity, however, is very real. And, in a racialized society, everyone is assigned a racial identity whether you are aware of it or not. Let’s broaden our awareness.
American society developed the notion of race early in its formation to justify its new economic system of capitalism, which depended on the institution of forced labor, especially the enslavement of African peoples. To more accurately understand how race and its counterpart, racism, are woven into the very fabric of American society, we must explore the history of how race, white privilege, and anti-blackness came to be.
"How To Overcome Our Biases? Walk Boldly Toward Them."
TED Talk with Verna Myers. Our biases can be dangerous, even deadly — as we've seen in the cases of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and Eric Garner, in Staten Island, New York. Diversity advocate Verna Myers looks closely at some of the subconscious attitudes we hold toward out-groups. She makes a plea to all people: Acknowledge your biases. Then move toward, not away from, the groups that make you uncomfortable. In a funny, impassioned, important talk, she shows us how.
"African American Women and the Struggle for Equality"
African American women have always been part of the African American struggle for full equality. Learn how early freedom fighters like Sojourner Truth, Harriet Tubman, and Anna Julia Cooper fought against multiple oppressions. Scholar Kimberlé Crenshaw explains how the intersections of these oppressions manifest today in the term she coined, "intersectionality." Voiced by Jouelzy and scholar Kimberlé Crenshaw.
Since the opening of the museum, the number one question people ask us is how to talk about race. In 2014, we launched our signature program, “Let’s Talk! Teaching Race in the Classroom.” Every year we’ve learned, reflected, and refined the program content – always growing and striving to do better.