Antiracism Training Archives - Point Made Learning

In our documentary I’m Not Racist…Am I?, a multiracial group of teens and their families spend a school year learning and talking about race and racism. What they went through has inspired audiences all over the U.S. to learn more about how racism continues to be institutionalized and how that affects our everyday experiences.

One of the film’s more powerful scenes shows the group playing a board game called The American Dream. It’s essentially the Game of Life meets Chutes and Ladders, with players becoming characters with different identities and then seeing how structural inequity, stereotypes, and microaggressions get in the way of achieving “Success.”

By the time the kids in the film played the game, they had spent quite a bit of time together listening to one another’s personal experiences, but this took things to a whole different level. Here’s what one of the kids, Sacha, said at the end of the game:

“For all the workshops that we’ve done, I’ve heard everyone talking about how they’ve been discriminated against because of their race. And I mean, this is the first time that I’ve really, fully been able to understand that. Because I’ve never been in their place. So I’ve never felt, never experienced that discrimination. So this obviously isn’t the real thing, but it kind of gives me an idea of how frustrating it is to have all these things working against you.”

Sacha’s revelation was shared by the other students and it resonates so deeply with audiences that every time we screen the film, viewers ask us, “Where can I get that game?”

Well now you can!

We’ve recently worked with the creator, Jennifer Yim, who developed the game as part of her doctoral work in psychology at the University of Michigan, to update the game and package it for schools.

This new School Edition can be used with students, faculty & staff, parents, and any other community members ready to engage in meaningful lessons and dialogue about the ways race, gender, income, sexual orientation, religion, ability, and nationality affect a person’s everyday experiences and long-term opportunities.

Despite all the talk and money spent on diversity and inclusion (D&I) in school districts, higher education, corporations and beyond, there’s still so much debate about what works, what doesn’t, whether these initiatives are just a waste of time, or, worse, if they backfire.

This is all really hard to measure and there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. But what we have learned from recent research is that the types of D&I programs that seem to be the most effective involve two elements:

  1. Perspective-taking
  2. Goal-setting

The American Dream Game does both.

We’ve seen over and over again how players quickly make connections between their characters’ experiences in the game and what those experiences might feel like for real people in real life. And once you go through the experience of losing, no matter how well you roll the dice, or getting knocked back two spaces for every time you move ahead one — even if it’s only a game — you can’t forget that feeling and you can’t help but want to do something about it.

Here’s some early feedback we’ve gotten from our new School Edition:

“A fun, educational way to raise awareness of, and provoke discussion about, the intersectionality of identity and privilege, inclusion and exclusion. –Shanelle Henry, Director of Equity and Inclusion

“A highly interactive way to learn about race, bias, and privilege… As a facilitator, I’m grateful for The American Dream Experience as a learning tool, as a way to connect with colleagues, and as a springboard to conversations about life.”-Liza A. Talusan, PhD, CPC, ELI-MP, Strategic Consultant | Scholar-Practitioner | Facilitator and Trainer | Certified Professional Coach

The American Dream game is eye-opening, thought-provoking, and so engaging that players always want the experience to last longer. When was the last time you heard that about a diversity workshop?

Order it now for your classroom! Or, if you want to bring it to your workplace, find out more about that here.

#NotJustStarbucks

When Starbucks announced that it would conduct a companywide racial bias training following an incident of racism in one of their stores, we saw an opportunity to promote a productive discussion with our community. But we realized that the discussion needed to reach further than our circle. The nation needed to engage in the conversation about racism and bias to unpack what’s been brewing.

These incidents are not isolated. Flagrant displays of racism are recorded so frequently that news coverage feels trite. But the frequency of these incidents should not bore us. They should inspire us to take some action, if not to organize in opposition of racism, at least to talk about why racism persists. 

In that vein, we hosted a series of virtual discussions via Facebook to make the conversation about inequity actionable using tools from our I’m Not Racist… Am I? Digital Course. Throughout the day, participants submitted questions, comments, and engaged with Point Made Learning staff on social media. Staff at NYU Silver School of Social Work, YMCA and other organizations joined in groups to take our digital course and discuss its content with their peers. As LeRhonda Greats added during our Facebook Live, “talking is ACTION, so is listening.”

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Bias and Racism: Let’s Talk About What’s Brewing

POINT MADE LEARNING DECLARES THE IMPLICIT BIAS CONVERSATION ESSENTIAL FOR EVERYONE, #NOTJUSTSTARBUCKS

Point Made Learning asks all communities to talk about bias and racism on May 29.

Overview

NEW YORK, NY (May 22, 2018) –  On May 29th — the same day that Starbucks will close 8,000 of its stores for employee racial-bias training — Point Made Learning (PML) is inviting individuals and institutions to participate in Bias and Racism: Let’s Talk about What’s Been Brewing, a day-long event designed to provide a framework for meaningful, informative, and constructive dialogue on race.

A Community Effort

Recognizing that interrupting racism will require entire communities to come together, PML is staging the Let’s Talk about What’s Been Brewing event to get individuals throughout the U.S., and not just Starbucks employees, to carve out time on May 29 to learn more about racial bias and then gather a group of peers, friends, or colleagues together to talk about it.  

“We’re asking people to acknowledge the fact that the recent incident at Starbucks isn’t just a Starbucks issue. Racism in America is something we all need to address,” said Catherine Wigginton Greene, PML’s Executive Director of Content and Engagement. “So let’s use May 29 as an opportunity to brew our own coffee and engage in healthy dialogue about how we can make some real change.”

What to Expect

For the event, PML’s workshop facilitation team will host Facebook Live discussions throughout the day. In addition, PML will provide conversation prompts and guidelines, an action-plan toolkit, and resources for further learning to support discussion groups forming across the country. All content, tools, and resources will be available online beginning at 6AM EST on Tuesday, May 29, through 6AM EST on Wednesday, May 30.

Join the event on May 29th at https://pointmadelearning.com/notjuststarbucks (event has passed)

What We Do

Point Made Learning uses documentary film to facilitate productive discussions around the most uncomfortable topics we face in American society – starting with racism. We’ve taken an innovative approach to raising awareness and organizing communities through our unique combination of storytelling, real talk, and digital tools. We tell true stories and teach powerful lessons about race and racism. We believe true stories can strengthen human connections and inspire change.

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If you would like more information, please contact:

Name:  Lisa Flores

Email: Lisa@FloresDigital.com

Since the release of the documentary film I’m Not Racist… Am I?, Point Made Learning (PML) has held more than 400 screenings and workshops across the United States. Facilitated by senior members of our staff, these events engage diverse audiences and help communities think, learn, and – most importantly – talk about race and racism in ways they don’t often get a chance to do.

Some of our events involve a screening of the 90-minute film, followed by a 30-minute Q&A. Sometimes we get a chance to go a lot deeper, when organizers make a commitment to plan a series of events that engage every segment of their city over the course of several days. It takes a ton of work to make that happen, but the impact can be far-reaching and significant.

For those of you thinking about hosting your own I’m Not Racist… Am I? screenings and workshops, we think that reading about what other groups have done might be helpful in your planning process. We’ve reached out to a few of the people who have been instrumental in some of our larger programs across the U.S. and asked them to talk about what went into planning and executing, what worked/what didn’t, and what they wish they’d known.

Keep reading to learn about our May 2017 programming in Des Moines, Iowa.

Iowa Public Radio interviews Catherine Wigginton-Greene, director of "I'm Not Racist... Am I?"
Iowa Public Radio interviews Catherine Wigginton-Greene, director of “I’m Not Racist… Am I?”

This past May, a number of community groups collaborated with Point Made Learning to bring I’m Not Racist… Am I? (INRAI) to Des Moines, Iowa. There, partnerships forged between church groups, high schools and Drake University made it possible for the film to screen three different times — twice at local high schools, and once at the Drake University auditorium. Among the audiences who watched the film were the faculty from every Des Moines area high school (approximately 600 teachers total), high school and college students, and community members interested in deepening the conversation about race and racism.

One of the screenings’ primary organizers, Sheena Thomas, got involved when members of Des Moines’ Anti-Racism Collaborative reached out to her because they were all part of a multi-church network called AMOS (A Mid-Iowa Organizing Strategy). Thomas was able to secure grant money to fund the screenings, and she was able to recruit local stakeholders to join in the planning process.

For the Des Moines community, screening the film was about more than hosting a neighborhood movie night; the organizers intended for INRAI to help people tackle difficult issues that affect many groups in their area. For example, Thomas said, the local high schools have a major issue with out-of-school suspensions and the “School to Prison Pipeline” that primarily affects minority populations.

“That is a huge problem here,” said Thomas. “Iowa has one of the highest incarceration rates for minorities in the pipeline … so there is a lot of work to be done here, and that was a rationale for bringing this in to the schools.”

According to Thomas, many people “just don’t get” why issues of race and racism are so important. “They don’t have to live with it in any way, shape or form,” she said, “so it’s hard to get them to understand, to see things differently, from another perspective.”

Like the stone Sisyphus was pushing up the hill over and over, the issues of racism and white privilege will not go away without more and more education.

Films like INRAI are a major aid in reaching those people and helping them find the alternative perspectives of which Thomas speaks. She said, “The films generated enough discussion and provocation that people were still discussing it long after the showing, and I thought that was really good.” She added that one of the organizers’ goals was “to develop enough sensitivity so that we’d have some leaders who wanted to pursue doing something on the subject,” and that has been the case — after the events, young adults created a Race Education Committee, an adult group formed to discuss these issues, and the Anti-Racism Collaborative held a speaker series for AMOS members to attend.

When asked why hosting events like the INRAI screenings is important, Thomas was direct: “Like the stone Sisyphus was pushing up the hill over and over, the issues of racism and white privilege will not go away without more and more education. That’s why.”

Inside the Planning and Promotion Process

In our discussion with Thomas, she discussed what it took to bring the screenings to life. Here are some of the highlights from our Q&A.

PML: Once you had the idea, what were the steps you took toward making it a reality?

Sheena Thomas: The Anti-Racism Collaborative was very good about saying, ‘Let’s have meetings,” and setting dates, and getting things done before each meeting which needed to be done. We worked on who we were going to market to … then it was working on the marketing and working to get interviews for (PML’s) Catherine Wigginton Greene to do with two TV stations and the public radio station. Also, we had posters that we put up all over for the screenings, around the churches and shop windows, and around Roosevelt High School. And I was able to get a billboard — several billboards — as places for community publicity.

PML: If you could do the process over again, what is one thing you’d do differently?

ST: I would start the public marketing earlier, and it would have been better to have Catherine’s interviews air a little sooner to give people in the public more info and time to plan. Oh, and because I thought we might be overrun or overwhelmed with people attending, I suggested sign-ups online. That may have actually deterred people from coming.

 PML: Was there anything that happened which really surprised you? What was it, and why was it surprising? 

ST: Getting to know the members of the Anti-Racism Collaborative, the students of the groups at two of the Des Moines High Schools, the faculty and administrators in charge of school climate and their eagerness and thoughtfulness were surprising to me. Also, the total backing we received from staff and foundation at Plymouth Church was amazing. One of the people on the foundation was instrumental in helping us get our marketing done.

 PML: Overall, what were the biggest challenges you faced as an organizer? How did you respond to these challenges?

ST: My biggest challenge was working on the organizing in and around my job. There was a lot of emailing that had to be done and which did impinge on my work time at my shop and on my home time as well. I was very grateful for the others who were also organizing on their own.

 PML: What advice do you have for other people who want to hold similar events? Say, your top 3 tips…

ST: One: Start early — 9 months before the event was good in our case.

Two: Get buy-in from several groups and collaborate in the planning. And share the costs.

Three: Market like crazy and use the resources offered by Point Made Learning when doing so.

If you are interested in hosting a Point Made Learning film screening or workshop, please send us an email: programming@pointmade.com

Also, check out our new I’m Not Racist… Am I? Digital Online Course — a valuable program for corporations and individuals who want to Look Deeper into race, racism, and bias.

Point Made Learning is the consulting and programming extension of Point Made Films, a production company focused on telling stories about the many layers of American identity. We use documentary film to facilitate productive discussions around the most uncomfortable topics we face in American society – starting with racism. We’ve taken an innovative approach to raising awareness and organizing communities through our unique combination of storytelling, real talk, and digital tools. We tell true stories and teach powerful lessons about issues that matter.