What is the Race Institute?

The Race Institute for K-12 Educators is an affordable and accessible opportunity for educators to grow their racial identities. We believe that it is the job of all educators to support the positive racial identity development of students; educators cannot accomplish this if they themselves do not have a positive racial identity.  The workshop takes place over the course of three 8-hour days.  The same group of 20 educators is present for the entire workshop, which creates an in-depth and personal experience as participants get to know one another and support one another to meet their goals.  Every institute includes a panel of local high school students willing to share their experiences with race in school. Listed below are the framing concepts on which the workshop was designed.

Framing Concepts of our Work:

  • It’s possible to have a multicultural curriculum, and not have an anti-racist classroom
  • Intent vs. Impact: This is framework for seeing any conflict around race and we need to understand both sides in order to be effective.
  • This workshop is not about how to talk to kids about race, but how to work against racism in schools.
  • We believe teachers are responsible for supporting all students to have a positive racial identity – we can’t do that unless we ourselves have a positive racial identity and are conscious of our developmental process around that.
  • We use the term “anti-racist” not because we think teachers are racist, but because we want to recognize that our students live and learn in a context of racism, which we as educators have to understand in order to support their racial identities.
  • Both intergroup and intra-group learning is part of building racial competency: sometimes we need to have dialogues across race and sometimes we need to have dialogue within racial groups.  Both are important tools for learning.
  • This work is about creating wholeness: it’s about bringing people together, rather than separating from one another.

Words from Race Institute participants:

“Thank you for providing an opportunity for me to dig deeper into my own racial identity, to help me find my voice to talk about race with my family, friends and colleagues, I’ve known this for awhile…I’m ready now!”

“The Race Institute helped me reflect on my racial identity. I will continue to do that without that consistent honest reflection, I would never be able to build honest genuine relationships with my students – our relationships are what drive real learning and growth.”

“This was a very different experience for me. I have had other trainings where I felt “chastised” but wasn’t given anything to do to move beyond those feelings. The Race Institute workshop stirred up a lot of emotions but I am leaving feeling more positive about how to approach things.”

“This was by far the most useful and impactful professional development I have had done in many years- thank you.”

“It is a powerful reminder of the importance of coordinated work on race and the dynamics of race facing schools.”

“This was the first race and diversity workshop I have been to where I left learning a lot about me, learning a lot about racial identity, and having tools to move forward. It is safe and deeply valuable self-assessment. Thank you for pushing me!”

“I would tell people to come to the workshop as a way to combat feelings of white guilt and understand–how to converse more openly and honestly about race. How to see the ways race issues touch everyone. ”

“I would recommend this to others as it was a great balance among personal work, group work, outlining the issues and tools for change.”