Discuss Race, Race Relations and Civil Rights
This provides teachers the materials and guidance for students to learn different perspectives on the issue of race, civil rights and race relations, discuss them and listen to each other in a respectful and civil manner, and appreciate differences while finding common ground.
With news and materials from left, center and right sources plus a structured process for discussion, teachers, administrators and parents can be assured that multiple points of view are discussed and respected in a civil, beneficial manner.
☛ Teachers! Have you done the Relationships First component in your classroom yet? Consider starting with it to establish a solid foundation. ☚
Resources to Build your Own
First, students need to understand the issue better including viewpoints from across the political spectrum. Here are a variety of resources to include.
Inequality Issues page on AllSides and Civil Rights Issues page on AllSides: Give your students a good understanding of the background. AllSides Issue pages provide background information, current news and opinions, think tanks and more.
Balanced Dictionary: Reveals how different people from across the political spectrum think and feel about the same term or issue.
AllSides Balanced Search: A search engine that quickly and easily shows multiple perspectives. Google and other search engines often only give you the most popular perspective, burying or leaving out alternative viewpoints.
As your students discover such diversity in perspective, you may want to look at our Media Bias section. Try having your students rate their own bias and rate the media bias of news sources and Think Tanks.
Next, you want the students to participate in a healthy, collaborative dialog
Participate in an Online Video Dialog:
Mismatch.org: Connect with students across the country with different backgrounds and political perspectives for a respectful video conversation.
Engage in conversations in person:
Living Room Conversations
Participate in an Online Text Dialog:
Share your opinions on these questions or request a new agree/disagree question be posted. Students are encouraged to backup their opinions with research.
Have a specific question for students to discuss online? Email us to start a new Classroom Dialog
★ This can be done as a single class or over several class periods. Extending the lesson will allow for more in depth understanding.★
Also see how this program complies with Common Core standards.
Collaboration: Students will discuss race while working in small groups (if a large class) or as an entire class.
Civil conversation and conflict resolution: Students will learn how to listen, understand and respect one another’s views, especially when there are differences of opinion and background.
Research and analysis: Students will have a deeper understanding of the different perspectives on race and civil rights, including their own, their classmates, and the country at large, through researching the topic across biases and discussing.
Homework prior to class:
Students will spend 10-20 min looking at the most recent news about Civil Rights and Race from different perspectives.
Tell students think about/write down a few of their own culture’s values, beliefs and customs.
Optional: Have students read our blogs on Black Lives, Blue Lives Matter (4 parts, see Resources for more) to understand the background and possible solutions.
Optional based on class size: Teacher divides students into small groups, preferably a mix of biases. (Have students complete a simple bias quiz for homework 2 days prior so the Teacher has a chance to evaluate if similar has never been conducted previously.)
Basics: What is your culture? You ethnicity? Are they the same thing? Does your culture define you and how? What do you think is a common belief about race, and how is it untrue? List some of your values, beliefs and customs (from homework). What are some of the things from your culture that you are proud of? What are some of the things about your culture that you don’t like?
Racism: Do you feel that racism is still a prevalent problem today? What is racism? What is the difference between being prejudiced and being a racist? Do you think that a day will come when race will no longer be a barrier between people? Why or why not? What are the responsibilities of the media in regards to portraying race? What does "race" mean? Why is it an important topic in this country? What does the term "reverse discrimination" mean? Does it exist?
What current events relate to race or feature people of color in a major way? Do you believe that to get an accurate account about events involving people of color, one must get that account from a person of color? Why or why not?
Who is considered a minority in the United States? What common experiences do you think these groups share, and why?
What do you think about the establishment of African-American colleges? Do you feel that having a school like that further separates society or does it strengthen the bond between members of that race?
Deeper Meaning questions: What would you say about race in America if you thought no one would know you said it? Is there anything helpful about racial stereotypes? When did you first encounter racism? What happened? Was there something you were hoping to ask or share in this conversation?
Final Questions to pose to students, either as homework or just as a wrap up: What is one important thing you thought was accomplished here? Is there a next step you would like to take based upon the conversation you just had?