5-Minute Film Festival: Talking About Race and Stereotypes
The most important conversations are often also the most difficult to have! Learn how to start a constructive dialogue about race in your classroom with these tips and tricks.
Race is a difficult thing to talk about, but it's also one of the most important. Recent events in Ferguson have sparked a national conversation about civil rights, and many college and high school students are joining in. Work toward embracing the diversity of your students, and when you’re ready to dive deeper, check out the video playlist below to learn how talk about racial stereotypes constructively with your students, break down assumptions, and bring people together.
Video Playlist: Talking About Race
Watch the first video below, or watch the whole playlist on YouTube.
- Sometimes You're A Caterpillar by Chescaleigh (3:18)
This cute video featuring animated caterpillar and snail characters is one of the best simple explainers of the concept of "privilege" I've ever seen. There is one slightly adult reference at the very end, but in general the rest of the video would be useful and appropriate for all ages to view.
- Mellody Hobson: Color Blind or Color Brave? by TED (14:16)
Sweeping discussions about race under the rug can mistakenly give the impression of not caring about discrimination. This illuminating TED Talk by Mellody Hobson shows how important it is to talk about race -- even, or especially, when it's difficult. (Full disclosure: Mellody is on our board.)
- I'm Not Racist... Am I? by The Calhoun School (3:00)
This documentary follows a group of students as they enter a year-long program to examine race and stereotypes. Watch what happens as they talk to each other, and if this trailer interests you, check to see if there's a screening or workshop in your neighborhood.
- Students Learn A Powerful Lesson About Privilege by Buzzfeed Video (1:46)
Watch how one teacher used a rubbish bin and some paper to teach his students a lesson about how privilege works. You could easily recreate this experiment in your class!
- Cracking the Codes: Joy DeGruy, A Trip to the Grocery Store by WorldTrustTV (3:56)
Discussions about race can feel so overwhelming, especially if you come from a place of relative privilege. Where do we start? What can we do to help? In this clip from Cracking the Codes, educator Joy DeGruy tells a compelling story about how a small gesture helped combat discrimination.
- What Kind of Asian Are You? by Helpmefindparents (2:20)
Where are you from? No, like, where are you really from? Sometimes, we've lived with stereotypes for so long, we forget how insulting they can be! This video pokes fun at the stereotyping questions many people of color receive as a result of their appearance.
- What Would You Give to Stop Hate? by Not In Our Town (2:04)
This inspirational fundraising video from the great organization Not In Our Town highlights the many reasons people have committed to ending hate in their communities. Check out more of their projects here.
- What is Stereotype Threat? by Conjecture (4:17)
Think that stereotypes don't affect your classroom? Think again! Many social science experiments show that reinforcing stereotypes before testing can have a negative effect on student performance -- psychology vlogger Matt Mignogna explains more here.
More Resources for Talking About Race in Schools
Getting the conversation started can be tough, but as shown above, addressing racial stereotypes directly can have an amazing positive impact in your class. By helping the next generation learn constructive ways to tackle stereotypes and racism, everyone benefits.
- Identity Safe Classrooms, a resource for teachers who want to reduce the effects of stereotype threat
- "Allowing Race in the Classroom," by Julie Helling via Johns Hopkins School of Education
- "How to Expel Hurtful Sterotypes from Classrooms Across the Country" by Geoffrey L. Cohen, Julio Garcia, and Ferris Jabr via Scientific American
- Whistling Vivaldi: How Stereotypes Affect Us and What We Can Do by Claude Steele
- "Talk About It" by Cynthia Kopkowski via National Education Association
- Racial Equity Learning Models from Racial Equity Tools