Equity Challenge Day 1

Day 1: Race and Racial Identity

Tuesday, January 4

“We must see who benefits from their race, who is disproportionately impacted by negative stereotypes about their race, and to who power and privilege is bestowed upon – earned or not – because of their race, their class, and their gender. Seeing race is essential to changing the system.” - Reni Eddo-Lodge

Welcome to Day 1 of the 21-Day Equity Challenge!

As Olmsted County and Minnesota residents, it is time for us to take a closer look at the inequities that are deeply rooted in our systems and institutions and work together to create a community where every individual can succeed, regardless of race, gender, sexuality, religion, and identity. Over the next 21 days, we will explore difficult topics like systemic racism, segregation, and privilege to open up dialogue on how we can be champions of equity in our personal and professional lives.

Remember: Try to keep your daily learning to 10-15 minutes, unless you are REALLY intrigued by the content. We have a surplus of content to provide multiple perspectives and challenge options. This is all to say that we encourage everyone to digest this content slowly to avoid burnout over the duration of the challenge.

On our first day of this journey together, we will establish shared definitions of race and racial identity:

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Think about the first time you became aware of your racial identity. What comes up for you? Identity matters. Who we think we are and who others think we are impacts all aspects of our lives.

Today's Challenge: Do one or more of the following... 

OPTION 1: “Language can be used deliberately to engage and support community anti-racism coalitions and initiatives, or to inflame and divide them.” Shared definitions and common language make all the difference. Take a few minutes to review the definitions found in the Racial Equity Tools Glossary.

OPTION 2: Watch the TEDx Talk Unpacking My Baggage: Re-framing Racial Identity. “Reflecting on her study abroad trip to Ghana, Abbi Van Hook suggests that racial identity is a bit more complex than one might initially believe.” (2:47)

OPTION 3: Explore the impact of your own social identities by completing this social identity wheel from the LSA Inclusive Teaching Initiative at the University of Michigan. Then, share what you write with a colleague or friend who is also participating in the 21-Day Equity Challenge. 

OPTION 4: Watch one or more of the short videos and reflections from A Conversation on Race: A series of short films about identity in America produced by The New York Times (NOTE: This video series is also available on NYT YouTube channel).

OPTION 5: Journal about your own racial identity. You might consider:

  • When did you first become aware of your racial identity? What prompted that awareness?
  • What messages did you learn about race from your school and family?
  • Did they align with what you've seen in your life?
  • How has others' perception of your racial identity affected how they treat you?
  • How have the events over the past 18 months impacted your awareness of race?
  • Have a conversation about those thoughts/feelings with someone.

← Day 0: Welcome

→ Day 2: Systemic Racism

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