A Conversation On Race

Following up on the National Conference on Race and Ethnicity in Higher Education, Gates Scholars (funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation) who attended the event will talk about their experiences at the conference and on the respective campuses.As a Gates Scholar I’m proud that we’re able to have these types of conversation on race, especially with what is going on now in our country:

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Beyond Color: How Do Youth Perceive the World?


“We all should know that diversity makes for a rich tapestry, and we must understand that all the threads of the tapestry are equal in value no matter what their color…”
“It is time for parents to teach young people early on that in diversity there is beauty and there is strength.” – Maya Angelou

One of the topics concerning youth I find myself often researching and learning about is identity, especially how young people view themselves and others. One area in particular is relating to race and ethnic background – how do young people see themselves and others? In my college “Women & Minorities in the Media” course I did a final paper on African American girls and how the media and role models in their lives affect the way they grow up and pursue careers.

Are we as adults and educators teaching children to see beyond color? Will the environment’s we live in and experiences we have had always have an effect on our world paradigm? Below are a few pieces and resources on this subject:

Colour Me – The Feature Film

Colour Me is a feature-length documentary film from Red Piano Productions following motivational speaker Anthony McLean and five youth on their journey to discover what it means “to be black”. McLean himself is biracial and talks about the struggles he felt growing up trying to find where he “fit in.” Watch this development reel from the documentary:

“A Girl Like Me” A Short Documentary Film by Kiri Davis

agirllikemeA few years back (then 17-year-old) Harlem student Kiri Davis recreated the famous doll experiment of the 1940’s by psychologist Dr. Kenneth Clark. Children were presented with dolls of different races to see how they responded to them. Kiri received recognition from various outlets for the film and was featured on the Oprah Winfrey Show, bringing the subject to the forefront to be discussed – have perceptions changed? Click here to learn more about Kiri Davis on her website.

CNN Report: Black or White: Kids on Race (May 2010 – Click here for the full report)

CNN commissioned a study on children’s racial beliefs, attitudes and preferences that shows black and white children are biased toward lighter skin. The test aimed to re-create the landmark Doll Test from 1940s. The two girls at the end of the video have so much wisdom and see the reality that “you don’t judge someone by the way they look but by the way they act.” Though it was sad to see when some didn’t realize their worth, it’s refreshing to see that some really “get it”.

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Unique Schools Motivating this Generation

Picture from the Ron Clark Academy WebsiteIn my research for my project to create a youth program, I’ve come across and been inspired by role models who think out of the box to motivate young people, especially those youth who might be going through tough circumstances. Check out these videos below of some stories I’ve come across:

Ron Clark Academy

I’ve written of Ron Clark before in this post about the video, “You Can Vote However You Like,” by his students and his efforts to inspire youth to learn in creative ways. Check out this video below introducing his school Ron Clark Academy (Picture above from the Ron Clark Academy website):

Capital Prep School From CNN’s Black in America

This segment from CNN’s special Black in America 2 introduces Principal Steve Perry at Capital Prep School in Connecticut, who motivates students to reach higher:

Chicago Hope Academy

Here’s an inspiring story of the principal of Chicago Hope Academy who helps teens going through difficult circumstances:

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