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Racetalks Initiative

RACETALKS INITIATIVE is an interdisciplinary research and public education project developed by Lani Guinier and Susan Sturm while professors at the University of Pennsylvania School of Law. It started with the assumption that America needs to but does not know how to talk about race and created a space for this potentially transformative conversation to take place.

Elements of the initiative included articles, conferences, a video of the class Guinier and Sturm taught, and a speech penned by the collaborators; Critical Perspectives, the syllabus from the class the two created and taught; and an interview with Prof. Guinier from the African-American Review. These works were gathered together on a web site funded by the Mott and Ford Foundations, RACETALKS INITIATIVE that is now housed at Harvard University.

Four overarching principles guided the development of the initiative. First, people need to learn how to transform conflicts that result from demographic diversity into problem-solving capacity among multi racial groups. Second, conversations about race should be a prologue to action and not just talk. Third, people are more likely to remain engaged in the conversation if they are encouraged to see race, not as a fixed category tied to special pleading, but as a source of illumination. Fourth, instead of special pleading, racial justice requires linking problems affecting people of color to broader efforts of institutional transformation. The content from RACETALKS will become part of the minerscanary.org site. Until then, bookmark this page. Go there now…


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