Great coverage of our Unity In Community event here: Piedmont: Community rally set March 4 to promote inclusivity
On Tuesday evening, September 13, Dr. Allison Briscoe-Smith did not tell a packed student center how to "talk with their kids about race," delivering a brilliant head-fake instead. She opened with a survey of research supporting the existence of Implicit Biases, and the impact those biases have on everyone. Then she presented a case for counteracting the pervasive negative imagery and narratives associated with people of color. (So pervasive, in fact, that even the nation's first black president blithely contributes to the narrative with false incarceration statistics -- yikes!) As she wrapped up her prepared remarks, highlighting some successful initiatives that actively change these negative perceptions, we come to realize that her own presentation has been doing precisely that: most if not all of the research she presented was by people of color -- nice.
But wait, what about talking to kids about all of this? To which she replied something like, "I don't know your kids. But you do, so you tell me how to talk to them." Which was a great segue to the Q&A, easily the most powerful segment of the evening, with so many poignant questions. Just to cite a couple:
And Dr. Briscoe-Smith's response to questions like these is profoundly empowering: Start by reminding yourselves of your family values -- "we are kind," or "we treat people with dignity" -- and proceed with empathy, honesty, and genuine curiosity. She also modeled some great responses of course, but was careful to point out that, like many acquired skills, talking comfortably to kids about race would take practice, and suggested parents try it out on like-minded friends and colleagues to build confidence.
Her insight on this subject is truly remarkable, and we have received overwhemingly positive feedback from people who were fortunate enough to attend the event. We're also hearing requests more resources. Fortunately, Dr. Briscoe-Smith has provided us with a rich trove of links, many from her website, some of which we're sharing below.
One of PADCs key strategic objectives is to bring the discussion of Implicit Bias out into the Piedmont Community. We can't think of a better way to start the year than this! Onward.
To promote and practice inclusiveness, foster an appreciation of differences, and raise global awareness within Piedmont and surrounding communities.