Dialogue circles are people coming together to openly discuss issues affecting their community. Locally, Jackson 2000 (jackson2000.org) regularly holds free dialogue circles about race. Over six weeks, participants explore different aspects of race using an Everyday Democracy-designed curriculum and study guide, "Facing Racism in a Diverse Nation."
"These conversations will touch on issues of power and privilege, fear and anger, hope and disappointment," the authors write. "But they are well worth the effort. We have seen that many people are ready to take the risk. They tell us that honest listening and sharing are powerful forces for making change."
Participants deepen their understanding through topic areas such as Making Connections; Our Ethnic Backgrounds and Racism; Our Unequal Nation; Why Do Inequities Exist? and Looking at Our Community.
Everyday Democracy, based in Connecticut, "helps people of different backgrounds and views talk and work together to solve problems and create communities that work for everyone," the organization writes on its website (everyday-democrac...).
For additional resources, see page 20.
It's easy to fall into a debate about race and racism, but debate usually hardens our positions, instead of opening us to the possibility of change. To understand the difference, take a look at chart below; then decide how you want to proceed.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Justice Community Relations Service "Community Dialogue Guide: Conducting a Discussion on Race"
Putting a Toe in the Water of the Race Conversation
What Is Racism? Why Meanings Matter in Conversations About Race
Racism Affects Families from Generation to Generation
Crimes Against (Some) Americans
Facts Matter; So Do Stereotypes
Taking Jobs from Blacks? Not so Much