A small group of young people talking to one another.

At-home activity: Have a conversation about race

race, social scienceAs seen in the Star TribuneOct 2, 2020
Turn on the science

Have a conversation about race

The RACE: Are We So Different? exhibit is part of an effort to develop and promote a broad understanding of race and human variation. The exhibit prompts us to reflect and talk about the following big topics:

  1. Race is a recent human invention.

  2. Race is about culture, not biology.

  3. Race and racism are embedded in our institutions and everyday life.


Have a conversation about race with family, friends, or co-workers. Make the invitation – it could be an after-dinner conversation or something you schedule in advance.

  1. Reinforce that the purpose is to explore, listen, and learn from each other.

  2. Set agreements to encourage dialogue, mutual respect, and deep listening to what others share. These could include: stay engaged, expect to experience discomfort, speak your truth, and expect and accept a lack of closure.

  3. Begin with a conversation starter. Tell about a place that makes you feel good, or tell a story about something you have lost or found.

  4. Deepen the conversation. Here are some possible discussion questions:

    • What aspect of your racial or ethnic identity makes you the proudest?

    • When was the first time you had an awareness or consciousness about your racial identity?

    • What messages do you get daily about race and from whom?

    • Have you ever experienced a situation where your racial or ethnic identity seemed to contribute to a problem or uncomfortable situation?

  5. Close the conversation. Invite people to share what they learned about themselves or one takeaway from the conversation.

Read more on this topic at smm.org/path-to-change.