Teaching through talk? The impact of intergroup dialogue on conceptualizations of racism

Pushing the Boundaries: New Frontiersin Conflict Resolution and Collaboration

ISBN: 978-1-84855-290-6, eISBN: 978-1-84855-291-3

ISSN: 0163-786X

Publication date: 13 November 2008

Abstract

This chapter examines the goals and outcomes of intergroup dialogue through the evaluation of a dialogue program between city and suburban high school students located in Syracuse, NY. The Community Wide Dialogue to End Racism, Improve Race Relations and Begin Racial Healing (CWD) organizers share with a wide range of conflict theorists and practitioners the impulse to bring citizens together to talk about complex social conflicts. Two of the main goals of this program, to build participants’ understandings of institutional racism and white privilege, are examined here. Drawing on in-depth interviews with a small sample of dialogue participants, a framework is developed for categorizing participant awareness and understanding of institutional racism and white privilege. The analysis suggests that relatively modest levels of understanding of both concepts should be anticipated from participants both before and after completion of a dialogue of this type. While dramatic changes resulting from the dialogue are not found, the data indicate that the dialogue does have demonstrable impacts on the ways participants think and talk about institutional racism and white privilege. The central challenges faced by participants in understanding the concepts, specifically ability to personalize white privilege and capacity to adopt structural ways of thinking about institutional racism, are identified and described. This research helps to clarify the range of outcomes we can feasibly expect when bringing citizens together to talk about social conflicts by providing a qualitative framework for measuring awareness and understanding of white privilege and institutional racism.

Citation

Pincock, H. (2008), "Teaching through talk? The impact of intergroup dialogue on conceptualizations of racism", Fleishman, R., Gerard, C. and O'Leary, R. (Ed.) Pushing the Boundaries: New Frontiersin Conflict Resolution and Collaboration (Research in Social Movements, Conflicts and Change, Vol. 29), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 21-53. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0163-786X(08)29002-6

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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