Fostering Race-Related Dialogue: Lessons from a Small Seminar

University of Florida Journal of Law and Public Policy, v. 22, pp. 407-416 (2012).

10 Pages Posted: 3 May 2012

See all articles by Jonathan R. Cohen

Jonathan R. Cohen

University of Florida Levin College of Law

Date Written: May 3, 2012

Abstract

People frequently shy away from discussing race. Yet, for many reasons, discussing race is extremely important. Drawing upon my experience of teaching a small seminar that addressed race through the lens of reconciliation, in this essay I offer several suggestions for fostering constructive race-related dialogue. I begin by identifying some factors that can make race-related dialogue difficult. I then suggest five steps that may facilitate constructive dialogue: (1) establish trust and good conversational dynamics before discussing race, (2) prompt the discussion with a reading or other informative stimulus, (3) listen to others with the goal of understanding their thoughts, (4) express one’s views without being needlessly antagonistic, and (5) approach subjects from multiple perspectives. Such steps do not guarantee a learning conversation. However, in my experience, they often help produce one.

Keywords: dialogue, race, pedagogy

Suggested Citation

Cohen, Jonathan R., Fostering Race-Related Dialogue: Lessons from a Small Seminar (May 3, 2012). University of Florida Journal of Law and Public Policy, v. 22, pp. 407-416 (2012).. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2050381

Jonathan R. Cohen (Contact Author)

University of Florida Levin College of Law ( email )

P.O. Box 117625
Gainesville, FL 32611-7625
United States
(352) 273-0919 (Phone)
(352) 392-3005 (Fax)

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