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.
"The Relationship Between White Racial Identity and Narcissism"
By MM Corbett. This study explored the question of whether racial characteristics are a significant psychological or mental health issue (i.e., whether race "matters") for White Americans. Relationships were examined between White racial identity development (WRID; Helms, 1984, 1990) and self-reported healthy and defensive narcissism (Kohut, 1971, 1977, 1984) in a sample of 216 (121 women, 95 men) White university students.
"I was born black, and a woman. I am trying to become the strongest person I can become to live the life I have been given and to help effect change toward a liveable future for this earth and for my children." By Audre Lorde (Read by Lauren Lyons)
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.