Constructing a Conversation on Race

Below are resources for introducing the concept of race in a secondary school classroom, presented with my American Studies co-teacher, Steve Schwartz, at a “Best Practices” workshop at Oak Park River Forest High School in January, 2015.

Introductory materials/major assignments

Introductory slideshow

Personal narrative assignment

Cultural analysis assignment

Ethnic Notions – viewing guide

Race: The Power of an Illusion – PBS

Reading Race – article annotation guide


Trayvon Martin/Michael Brown – background+articles

“The Events Leading to the Shooting of Trayvon Martin” – New York Times

“Tracking the Events in the Wake of Michael Brown’s Shooting” – New York Times

“Remarks on Trayvon Martin” – Barack Obama

“The Whole System Failed Trayvon Martin” – New York Times

“This Is Why We’re Mad About the Shooting of Mike Brown” – Jezebel

“Op-Ed: Killer Mike on the Problems Underlying the Chaos in Ferguson” – Billboard Magazine

“After Ferguson, Race Deserves More Attention, Not Less” – New York Times


Race as a system/Whiteness and white privilege/Getting beyond black and white – background+articles

“The History of White People” – SALON

“Why Would We Need Something Called ‘The Whiteness Project’?” – New York

“The White Conversation on Race – COLORLINES

“Jeremy Lin and ESPN’s ‘Accidental’ Racism” – The Nation

“Does Hollywood have a Latino problem?” – CNN

“When Your (Brown) Body is a (White) Wonderland” (tressiemc blog)

“Angry Black Woman Stereotype” – Chicago Tribune


Satire and Race

Satire – Introductory slideshow

Satire Tracking

“How Dave Chappelle Got Bamboozled by the Black Minstrel Tradition” – PopMatters

“Tips For Being An Unarmed Black Teen” – The Onion

“White Like Me” – Eddie Murphy on white privilege

“Stuff White People Like”

“Obama Anger Translator” – Key and Peele

 “Slave Auction” – Key and Peele

“Black Guy Ask Nation for Change” – The Onion

“The South’s Secession Commemoration” – The Daily Show


Here is the calendar for an American Studies class that integrates these resources.  To see the unit, navigate to January 6, 2014, and click on each date to see lessons, links, and attached resources: