My Racial Journey

Week 6

Racial Communication

When we talk about race, the words we use are important, but they are just part of how we communicate. Our bodies and minds manifest the uncomfortability that can come when confronting race. Recognizing and understanding those signs is a crucial component of improving how we communicate about race.


Talking About Race

In small groups, have a three minute conversation about race based on the question below. As you discuss, notice how you are reacting during the conversation. Are you showing signs of discomfort, like lack of eye contact, hand wringing, or folding arms? Are you preparing for your partner to say the wrong thing, or worried about the tone of your response? 

What feels like the worst or best thing that could happen when you talk about race?

As you talk, try to use the vocabulary words below, keeping in mind their definitions.

Racial Vocabulary

Race: A social construct that artificially divides people into distinct groups based on certain characteristics such as skin color, ancestral heritage, and cultural affiliation

White Privilege: Unquestioned and unearned set of advantages, entitlements, benefits, and choices bestowed on people solely because they are white

Discrimination: The unequal treatment of members of racial groups. It can be passive, verbal, aggressive, physical, etc.

Anti-Racism: The active process of identifying and eliminating racism

African Diaspora: the voluntary and involuntary movement of African and their descendants to various parts of the world

African American Vernacular English (AAVE): A form of American English, with specific rules and structure, spoken primarily by African Americans

What do you think was your most common indicator of discomfort?

What is your strategy for gaining more skill in talking about race?

Here are a few ideas:

– Practice talking about race with a friend
– Practice using race words in front of the mirror
– Take a breath
– Acknowledge your own discomfort

Need help?

My Racial Journey was developed at the University of Pittsburgh Office of Child Development and with the Office’s Positive Racial Identity Development in Early Education (P.R.I.D.E.) Program. This work was funded by a 2019 Open Education Resource Grant from the University of Pittsburgh’s Office of the Provost.

If you are interested in hiring experts on racial literacy guide you through My Racial Journey, please fill out the form below.

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My Racial Journey was created by the University of Pittsburgh
Office of Child Development and the Office’s P.R.I.D.E. Program.

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