As the start of the new school year approaches, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) has created a new classroom resource for educators to help facilitate discussions of difficult issues surrounding race and racism.

Race Talk: Engaging Young People in Conversations About Race and Racism, a new addition to ADL’s wide range of anti-bias education resources, provides a structured approach for educators to facilitate productive, inclusive and sensitive discussions about race and racism while guiding educators to create a safe environment to implement lessons on microaggressions, implicit bias and structural racism, especially in relation to current events that have generated public conversations about these issues.

“While discussions about race can be challenging, it is critical to engage students in a way that is meaningful and effective with resonance in their own lives,” said David S. Waren, ADL Director of Education. “The recent national dialogue about race in America should turn into opportunities for educators to initiate productive conversations with their students. Race Talk provides guidelines and tips to appropriately discuss issues of race.”

The new curriculum resource encourages educators to:

Set up a safe and respectful classroom environment
Consider racial composition of their classroom
Define terminology around race and bias
Connect the past to the present by providing a historical context
Help students understand how perspective is shaped by a myriad of factors
Teach critical thinking about the media by analyzing portrayals of racial incidents
Discuss structural racism, white privilege and empathy
Provide positive examples of how social justice has triumphed
“Several recent tragedies triggered by race issues in Charleston, Baltimore, and Ferguson, along with the ongoing controversy over the confederate flag, have brought the topics of race and racism to the forefront of American public discourse,” Mr. Waren said. “With the increased visibility of these issues comes an obligation for educators, families and community leaders to help youth understand the implications of such events and take an active role in the discussion.”

Mr. Waren added, “We echo the call of other highly respected national organizations – including The American Educational Research Association and the National Education Association – who have recently expressed the significance of bringing this topic into the classroom.”