Cardboard signing reading "What lessens one of us lessens all of us."

About race: having the conversation

raceJoanne Jones-Rizzi, Vice President of Science, Equity, and EducationMay 29, 2020

Conversations about race are all around us—some very direct and others more subtle and nuanced. Either way, these conversations can be uncomfortable, but when we enter them with intentionality and in the spirit of understanding, they can help bridge big divides.

In conjunction with the exhibition RACE: Are We So Different? at the Science Museum of Minnesota, we’ve been hosting conversations about race, racism, and systems of inequity for a number of years. We developed the exhibition with the American Anthropological Association over a decade ago. In the past 13 years, the exhibition has traveled to more than 60 museums throughout the United States. Now, the exhibition is back home at the Science Museum and will be in residence here for the foreseeable future.

Both the world and our understanding and comfort with having conversations about race have changed a great deal since we opened the exhibition in 2007. The United States elected an African American president, frequent conversations about race and societal inequities are taking place within schools, places of worship, legislative bodies, and museums, and the public understanding and awareness of the prison industrial complex has expanded.

A refreshed, updated RACE: Are We So Different? exhibition will reopen in January of 2021. The exhibition will be focused on the three interrelated themes of biology, history, and the contemporary lived experience of race. When the Science Museum reopens, we plan to continue hosting programs designed to support conversations about race. We are excited to share this dynamic and timely exhibition with you, and we look forward to the questions and conversations the exhibition will generate.

In the meantime, if you’re talking with a colleague, a friend, a student, or your child, here are a few resources to support dialogue and questions about race, structural racism, the criminal justice system, bias, and how the COVID-19 virus is disproportionately impacting communities of color: