Raising Race Questions in Schools: Why it’s hard to talk about whiteness

Ali Michael, Ph.D., was a keynote speaker at the Raising Race Questions workshop at UNL in October

Story, aggregated content, video by Nela Krawiecova, NewsNetNebraska

A professional development workshop Raising Race Questions in Schools: Toward Wholeness of Self & Community was held at UNL’s College of Education and Human Sciences on October 28th, 2017.

Keynote speaker Ali Michael, Ph.D., a co-founder, and director of the Race Institute for K-12 Educators, author and an activist in the field of education spoke about how is her life structured by racism and how she has been trying to acknowledge and avoid that. She was also emphasizing that we are not talking about whiteness as a racial and social category as much as we should be.


She encouraged participants to reflect on their own race stories and stressed that conversations about race and racism have never been more relevant, although she recognizes that they make people feel guilty. “Guilt and shame are not the goals, they are just a step to the pursuit of wholeness”, said Michael.

For her, the first step is to work on our racial identity. According to Michael in today’s society, we are experiencing two types of racial identity – a positive and a negative one. “A positive racial identity is not feeling good about being white just because you are white, that is white supremacy. It is about understanding what it means to be white in a context of our society that has distributed resources and opportunities inequitably, favoring white people against people of color” said Michael.



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