Trends and Issues in Higher Ed

Talking about Race & Equity

Ed Taylor high res

“When we truly listen to the experiences of others, we have the opportunity to engage in deep, personal reflection about their lives and our own narratives. This enables us to gain a greater understanding and appreciation of how the threads of our individual truths weave together to create a community that finds its strength in the diversity of its fabric.”

—Ed Taylor, Vice Provost and Dean, Undergraduate Academic Affairs

How do we handle difficult conversations about race and equity — both inside and outside of the classroom?

Each of us identifies with multiple communities and different identities — racial and otherwise — and it can be uncomfortable to talk across difference. We may prefer to avoid sensitive topics, or gravitate towards conversations with those we assume share our background or perspectives. Perhaps we shut down when faced with strong opinions, or confuse intuition with fact.

However, in not talking across difference, we deprive ourselves and our communities of opportunities to grow, be challenged and understand more fully the experience of others. While dialogue alone does not solve structural problems, it is a good place to start.

As we talk about bias and racism, we will likely confront our own assumptions. Conversations may range from awkward to profound. Throughout, we aim to approach these conversations in the spirit of inquiry and self-discovery, assuming there’s much to learn from each other when we share our stories and really listen to one another.

Through examining our assumptions, beliefs and actions together, we hope to find the courage to recognize our own implicit biases and, perhaps most challenging of all, find the courage to change.

Talking about Race & Equity Features

Equity and Difference Speaker Series and Conversations on Activism and Expression

Discussions around race and equity bring the UW community together before public lectures in the Equity & Difference Speaker Series

UW Bothell’s Diversity Workshops: From Dialogue to Action

Terryl Ross prompts meaningful conversations on race and equity and moves them from talk to action