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How to Talk about Race

Learn how to talk about race by creating a dialogue, not having a debate. Follow an expert with 30 years of experience in diversity and leadership consulting to see how to approach this important but fraught topic in an open and productive way.
How to Talk about Race is rated 3.5 out of 5 by 11.
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Rated 5 out of 5 by from An insightful & constructive conversation on race Dr. Foeman is an engaging speaker. I was particularly struck by her discussion of "colorblindness". As a white person who sincerely wishes to be non-racist, I now recognize that I have been guilty of trying to overlook a person's race rather than acknowledging and accepting it. She gives the example of verbally identifying the only black person in a group by describing what they are wearing rather than saying 'the black person'. (And yes, I've done that!) Her insight that colorblindness and stereotyping are two sides of the same coin was powerful for me. Dr. Foeman gives numerous helpful examples of constructive responses to use when discussing race with someone who makes racially insensitive comments. This course shows that it is possible to gain an understanding of others' points of view, with an eye to bridging the divide. I highly recommend it!
Date published: 2023-12-07
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Better than expected Feeling about people, as friends, customers or politicians is laden with emotion. I had hoped this course would provide some objective structure upon which to both express one's self and reach a dialog that wouldn't offend. Immediately switched to audio as I felt I could better disassociate the context from the superficial. I found less in the way of structure than I would like and needed to connect the many examples and opinions for a more coherent whole. I soon found my self at a disadvantage, not being of the right type, one who is more community oriented than individualistic. By careful listing to tone and inflection one could read, as it will, approval or disapproval of issues at point, not what I feel an unbiased presentation. Is an unbiased presentation possible? Never the less there is much to take away from this course in understanding if not acceptance.
Date published: 2023-10-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Give it a Chance I was poised to be critical of this course before even starting it thinking that TGC had officially entered the culture wars. I decided to give it a try anyway. I was pleasantly surprised by its substance and approach. It manages to steer clear of a lot of what has become so frustrating about the anti-racism movement. I never felt like assumptions were being made about me. It didn't feel overly didactic or patronizing. It didn't have the familiar tendency to throw around empty buzzwords. My only criticism is a brief reference to the flat-out fraudulent Implicit Project, but even that was in a reasonable context. The course was just a really good set of ideas that an everyman could use to make conversations about race (among other distinguishing features) more productive and less contentious. I intend to implement many of them immediately. I can't stress enough that I get the frustration of people who are tired of being mischaracterized and talked down to regarding race relations. That is not what we have here. Give it a listen or a view and see if it gives you some fresh ideas about how to have these conversations and why they are important.
Date published: 2023-10-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Easy to understand It's never been an easy topic, this gave good ideas and insights about how to navigate discussions in a way that isn't a debate but a way to understand and hopefully learn.
Date published: 2023-09-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent from start to finish I really loved this course. So apropos for the times I find myself in. A perfect blend of theory and practice. Useful in so many settings. I came away with so many new ideas and approaches to try.
Date published: 2023-09-14
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Overview

There was a time, not too long ago, when talking openly about race was considered in poor taste. Even now, many people feel the topic of race is better left alone. What if we say something that’s misunderstood? What if we’re labeled a racist? Professor Anita Foeman understands those worries. In How to Talk about Race, she gives common-sense guidance and step-by-step instructions you can employ to develop safe and productive dialogue about race.

About

Anita Foeman

There’s nothing more intriguing than unlocking the mysteries of our history, heritage, and lineage and learning who we are and what we’re made of.

INSTITUTION

West Chester University of Pennsylvania

Anita Foeman is a Professor Emeritus in the Department of Communication and Media at West Chester University of Pennsylvania. She received a PhD in Communication Studies from Temple University and was one of the first in her field to publish on diversity in the workplace. Her research examines identity based on ancestry DNA data, and her work has received coverage in The New York Times and The Washington Post, among other outlets. She coauthored the book Who Am I? Identity in the Age of Consumer DNA Testing, which received a Most Promising New Textbook Award from the Textbook & Academic Authors Association.

By This Professor

How to Talk about Race
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Identity in the Age of Ancestral DNA
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How to Talk about Race

Trailer

How Talking about Race Can Help

01: How Talking about Race Can Help

Discover why it’s important to talk about race—even when it’s uncomfortable to do so—and what you’re really saying when you claim: “Oh, I don’t see race.” Explore the iceberg model of identity, and how little a person’s physical appearance actually tells us about that individual’s racial identity.

27 min
Beyond Thanksgiving: Talking Race in the Family

02: Beyond Thanksgiving: Talking Race in the Family

Thanksgiving can become a contentious time for any family, with all its assumptions of hierarchy and connections. Dr. Foeman offers suggestions for moving race-related conversations forward in a productive way when the family gathers for holidays—as well as bringing the temperature down when “productive” doesn’t seem possible.

26 min
Discussing Difficult Race Issues with Kids

03: Discussing Difficult Race Issues with Kids

Dr. Foeman observes that to make progress in the seemingly intractable racial conflict in the United States, we need to address the topic appropriately with our youngest citizens. Discover how you can best speak to children about disturbing histories, particularly the two great exceptions to the American immigrant narrative—Native Americans and African Americans.

27 min
Finding Where You Fit into the Race Dialogue

04: Finding Where You Fit into the Race Dialogue

Race is one of the first things we notice about people, so its impact is immediate, consequential, and ongoing. But is there a fixed, never-changing racial hierarchy in the United States? To explore this topic, two Asian Americans share their unique stories. You’ll also learn how to unpack the invisible knapsack of white privilege.

30 min
Avoiding Land Mines When Talking about Race

05: Avoiding Land Mines When Talking about Race

We back away from talking about race due to fear we will say something “wrong” or that our words will be misconstrued. Meet two women who share important insights about what they’ve learned from engaging in significant conversations. In addition, Dr. Foeman offers 10 suggestions to help you start these important conversations and keep them going when challenges arise.

28 min
Exploring Our Many Layers of Identity

06: Exploring Our Many Layers of Identity

Dig deep into two frameworks for understanding identity—one of which looks at race and other qualities from a critical power perspective, the other looking at layers of culture, of which race is a part. Learn about the intersectionality and iceberg metaphors, and how they can be used as tools to help us speak with people about race and across racial lines in deeper ways.

20 min
Talk That Builds Better Bridges

07: Talk That Builds Better Bridges

How can we make our conversations more creative and expansive, especially those addressing race? Discover theories about culture and communication styles that can give us a broader view of any subject. Is there any way to avoid making a hierarchy of cultural styles—but instead see each culture growing out of a particular history and offering insight to the others?

26 min
Ways to Talk about Race at Work

08: Ways to Talk about Race at Work

Discover best practices related to diversity training, and how they have changed over the past decades. Learn how you personally can get the most out of any such training your employer offers. Much more than a “do” or “don’t do” checklist, diversity training can help improve your professional skills that can lead to success.

27 min
How to Speak as an Ally If You’re a Bystander

09: How to Speak as an Ally If You’re a Bystander

What is the appropriate role of the bystander when concerning racial situations arise? That depends on the bystander’s desires and skills. Explore your options for helping, once you’ve become more skilled in talking about race. Learn five key strategies to help manage a racial situation that could escalate into a real problem.

24 min
Navigating Conversations about Race and Politics

10: Navigating Conversations about Race and Politics

The intersection of race and politics—from affirmative action to public-school funding, from mass incarceration to transracial adoptions and more—can be fraught. You’ll meet two individuals whose political stands might surprise you at first glance, and Dr. Foeman will suggest specific strategies for talking across ideology.

28 min
Are You Woke? Loaded Words and Useful Words

11: Are You Woke? Loaded Words and Useful Words

As a more multiracial population has developed in the United States, the language has expanded to be more inclusive. But many of terms in common usage have very different meanings for different groups. Dr. Foeman helps you gain insight about the history of these terms, addressing which groups find them helpful in discussing US racial issues today.

28 min
How to Do More Than Just Talk about Race

12: How to Do More Than Just Talk about Race

You might want to use your newfound skills to do more than participate in a few conversations about race; you might want to be involved in discussion and action for the long run. Explore ways you can make a difference in your local, regional, and even the national discussion on race. Dr. Foeman provides many suggestions and models for joining groups, planning action, and building alliances.

31 min