Everyone’s journey is their own. The ability to move forward on our journey requires us to think about where we are and ideate where we want to go to. This short quiz may help you to assess your own readiness to talk about race in the classroom or community settings and how to move forward in your abilities or understanding.
Assess: For each of the statements below, assign yourself a level of confidence related to the item on a scale of 0-4.
( 0= no confidence, 4 = very confident).
A. I can recognize and respond to racial and other stereotypes.
B. I welcome talk about race or other social identities in my teaching or community groups.
C. I understand where and how White supremacy and anti-Blackness are embedded in our institutions and society.
D. I know the history of and feel comfortable in my own racial and cultural identity.
E. I can acknowledge and admit my own racial biases.
F. I am comfortable and open to discussing topics of race and racism.
G. I understand the meanings of emotions that emerge in race talk.
H. I know how to facilitate discussion of such feelings in race talk.
I. I do not allow difficult dialogue to brew in silence.
Now evaluate: In how many items are you at 4? What items are your most worrisome? What skills or experiences do you need to build? How?
Plan to improve: Look for resources throughout this site that are labeled with the same letter of skill as listed above.
Still not sure? Schedule time to chat with Irene for free!
Items D-I are adapted from Derald Wing Sue (2015) Race Talk and the Conspiracy of Silence, pp. 234-244.
On this site you will find timely resources that you can use immediately to support you on your own journey and to use right away in the classroom and community. You will find blog posts on current events to encourage dialog, wisdom from Irene's new book, problem-solving "office hours" where you can schedule time to meet virtually with Irene, and other resources that talk about how to talk about race--in the classroom and in the community.
Start with what you need:
* Take the self-assessment above if you are unsure of where to start
* Learn How to talk about race and find current events to inspire dialogue
*Prepare questions that promote critical thinking and buy you thinking time in volatile race talk. Get Inspiration from experienced practitioners
*Get caught up on the US history of racism
*Quick classroom lessons and activities to help students or community groups get started from Tolerance.org
*Answers from experienced professionals and allies about your race talk questions
*Books, videos, and podcasts about race and racism for your self-education about race
*Books, videos, and podcasts for your students or community members
*Schedule time to talk with Irene virtually to ask questions and discuss ideas.
And in the near future, watch for:
· How to handle an incident
· How to find an antiracism buddy
· How to tell your school administration what support you need
· Why racism and antiracism is every teacher’s or community leader’s business
· A Google Group meeting on race and teaching or leading a community group
· A short video interview with the author of the book, Teaching and Race
So Find Your Walking Shoes!
The road is long and full of surprises, but we can and must help each other get to a better place.
In describing one student's approach to talking about race, Irene names her a cautious activist who prefers a measured, intellectual stance, filtering information that might threaten the racial identity through a logic filter held at arm's length, a safe distance from the heart. People like her, and Irene includes her "old" self in this category, avoid anything drastic such as relinquishing privilege, but remain observant, often from the sidelines.
But people cannot stay in this position without conflict. "I am struck nearly mute by the question, 'How integrated is my life?' Like my students, I don't want to be that bad person who resists social justice for others.....But there are times when I am stymied how to create a sufficient change....Once teachers are aware of their privleged complicity in the pain others suffer, they can't return to ignorance. "
(Teaching and Race, pg 75)
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