On Tuesday, June 2, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture announced the debut of its new online portal, Talking About Race, designed to help families and communities talk about the ways in which racism and racial identity shape American society and culture.
From scholarly articles to interactive exercises, the online portal consists of more than 100 multimedia resources tailored toward educators, parents, caregivers and all individuals committed to reaching racial equality.
The National Museum of African American History and Culture had planned on making the portal public later this year; however, as numerous racially charged incidents—including the recent deaths of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd as a result of police brutality—have garnered the attention of citizens throughout the globe, museum staff decided it was essential to release the portal early.
“Since opening the museum, the No. 1 question we are asked is how to talk about race, especially with children,” Spencer Crew, the interim director of the National Museum of African American History and Culture, said in a recent press release. “We recognize how difficult it is to start that conversation. But in a nation still struggling with the legacies of slavery, Jim Crow laws and white supremacy, we must have these tough conversations if we have any hope of turning the page and healing. This new portal is a step in that direction.”
On the very front page of the portal, there are questions like, “When were you first aware of race?” and “What do you remember from childhood about how you made sense of human differences? What confused you?’” all of which emphasize how talking about race starts with personal reflection.
According to the press release from the Smithsonian, the portal offers resources to make people more comfortable with engaging in honest dialogue and self-reflection. The portal builds upon decades of work by the museum’s educators, including research from experts Brené Brown, Robin DiAngelo, Bishop Desmond Tutu, Julie Olsen Edwards and many more. As of now, as the museum enters phase one of the portal, the main eight foundational subjects include being anti-racist; bias; community building; historical foundations of race; race and racial identity; self-care, social identities and systems of oppression; and whiteness.
For more information on how to stay informed and get involved, click here.
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