CAUTION: In the following dialog exercises, talk with a person of the other race about one of the topics listed below. Because the conversations can be “deep,” revealing, and sometimes very emotional, it is best to discuss only one or two topics per dialog session. Both people should take a turn at speaking and listening for each dialog you try.
Don’t attempt to talk with strangers or casual acquaintances about these topics.
“Make sure that the people you talk with want to learn more about their racial attitudes and to grow in this respect”.
Dialogs on these questions can be upsetting or hurtful if both participants are not committed to racial understanding or don’t realize that they themselves will need to make some changes.
Rules of Engagement: Let the person who is responding to a topic say everything s/he has to say before asking any questions or commenting on what has been shared. It can be helpful to use a “talking stick” or other object that you pass back and forth. According to this Native American custom, only the person with the talking object can speak; when finished talking for the time being, he/she passes it to the other person.
Steps you can take:
- Talk about the first time you heard about/learned about racism and how you felt about it.
- Describe/share something about your mother’s attitude toward racism and how you felt about it.
- Describe/share something about your father’s attitude toward racism and how you felt about it.
- Have you experienced discrimination or racism? If so, talk about your experience(s).
- Have any family members experienced racial incidents or race-related matters that have affected your family as a whole?
- Talk about your friendships and relationships across racial lines. How do they compare with your friendships and relationships within your race?
- Talk about how you evaluate a person’s actions with regard to race. What role do words and intentions play for you? What about ignorance?
- Have you experienced or witnessed institutional racism? If so, describe what happened and how you felt about it.
- What place, if any, do you think apology and pardon have in healing from racism?
- What race-related hurts or “sores” do you have? How can these hurts be healed?
- What are some ways you have tried, or could try, to educate people about racism?
- Talk about your experiences with the healthcare system, doctors, and your health generally.
- Talk about your financial situation and your experiences with financial institutions.
- Talk about experiences you have had with the police.
- Talk about your education and your experiences with educational institutions.
- Tell about your experiences shopping and as a consumer.
- Have you experienced or witnessed racism in housing? If so, describe what happened and how you felt about it.
- Have you experienced or witnessed racism in religious settings? If so, describe what happened and how you felt about it.
- How do you think people of the other race perceive you? What causes the positive perceptions? And the negative perceptions?
- Do you think churches can help dismantle racism? If so, how? If not, why not?
- What are your impressions of how the races are portrayed on TV? In movies? On the radio or in other media?
- What is the most important thing people of your race could do to eliminate racism?
- What could people of the other race do to eliminate racism?