Conversations about race are never easy. Here are a few tips on how to keep the conversation productive. This is part of a comprehensive Race Matters toolkit. For more information visit the Race Matters Institute website.
The ability to create change requires both good analysis and good communication.
Findings & Stats
The Power of Storytelling
If people see numbers that don’t fit their thinking about race, they’ll reject the numbers, but they can't reject powerful, moving stories from real people.
Stress values that unite rather than divide, like having a job. Focus on situations that anyone might find themselves in, like loss of a job.
Opportunity for all is one value most everyone can agree upon. Framing issues in terms of opportunity resonates with the deeply held ideal of America as the land of opportunity.
Statements & Quotations
Don’t try to persuade people that their beliefs are wrong. Instead, find a value focus that is equally dear and compelling to them.
They are also more likely to turn off conversations that criticize people instead of policies, practices, and proposals (e.g., It’s better to focus on Policy X rather than Senator Y) or use too many numbers without a storyline for understanding them (e.g., It’s better to focus on the harm to children from under-resourced schools rather than a stand-alonelitany of numbers reflecting inequitable resources.)
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