"What is your vision for a multiracial and equitable America? You can convene a race talk with friends in your own home, as a topic for a general meeting of your campus group, as a conversation for an affinity group of professionals at your company, at a book club, as a brown-bag lunch conversation at your organization, or as a workshop at a conference. Here are some ideas to get you started.
- Commit to convening three race talks in the next twelve months.
- Identify the venue and format for your race talk. Instead of convening a panel with speakers, host an informal dialogue that allows people to share their experiences and ideas. Race talks are ideal if they occur in groups of four to fifteen people and last for an hour at minimum.
- Come up with a set of questions that you will explore during your race talk. See below for sample ones.
- Ask your group to read a chapter or chapters in We Too Sing America and to come prepared with questions that arose while reading.
- Race talks should end with one action step that your group will take based on what you discussed and a commitment to meet again within three months.
- You will find more resources and information at www.deepaiyer.com to help you coordinate your race talks and to share ideas and feedback with people around the nation.
"Here are some questions to get you started with your race talk.
- Why are race talks important to each of us? Why are we here?
- What was your point of entry into racial consciousness? What incident or event triggered your understanding that racial identity plays a role in your lives?
- Which person featured in We Too Sing America spoke to you the most and why?
- In We Too Sing America, Drost Kokoye from Nashville talks about how she identifies as a person of color even though she would be classified as White by the government. What role do racial classifications play in your life? How do you think the government should categorize racial identities as America's racial landscape changes?
- We Too Sing America traces the impact of xenophobia and Islamophobia in the decade and a half since 9/11. How has post-9/11 America affected you? How have your views of South Asian, Arab, Muslim, and Sikh communities changed over the past fifteen years?
- Does your community receive the 'racial bribe' or the invitation to climb the racial ladder? How can you and your group help community members decline the racial bribe?
- Reflect on your workplace, company, campus, or organization. How does it engage with building multiracial and equitable spaces? What one action step do you think it could take?
- Envision your multiracial America. What does it look like? The 'it' could be your own campus or neighborhood, a particular industry, or the country as a whole. (Tip: Ask participants to put together the cover of a magazine in 2043, when the country becomes a multiracial nation. Encourage participants to draw or include cutout pictures in order to create headlines and stories, and then share their visions with each other.)
- What are common themes that emerge among the visions that people identified? What is one step that can be taken now to move toward your vision, either individually or collectively? Set a time for your next gathering and share a short summary of your race talk at www.deepaiyer.com.
"Together, we can use storytelling, dialogue, and ideas to transform our communities."