top of page

Teaching RaceTalk as a Skill

We know conversations about race and racism in the classroom can be challenging. 

You know what it’s like to have students who resist having these conversations in class and experience the “wall of silence” when you address issues of race or racism in the classroom.
You’re concerned that these conversations might be emotionally damaging to students of color. You don’t know for certain that you are structuring these conversations in a way that doesn’t place a disproportionate burden on students of color to carry any conversations about race or racism in your class.
You’ve experienced students who are rude, condescending, and generally uncivil during these conversations about race and racism and you don’t have the strategies to address it as effectively as you want to.
Maybe you’re concerned about receiving (or have received) negative feedback from students on evaluations because of your race and/or gender identity and expression. Or students have told you in evaluations that you “teach your opinions” rather than the content of your discipline. You receive feedback that your teaching is “politically motivated” because you’re talking about race and racism.

Imagine if you had the tools and strategies you needed to address these issues.

You know how to create a space where students of color feel empowered to speak about race and racism without carrying the emotional and intellectual burden of teaching their white classmates, and white students embrace the discomfort that comes with having these conversations.

Your classroom becomes a brave space where students are willing to engage in conversations about race and racism even when these conversations get emotional, uncomfortable, and difficult. You know how to help students stay “in it” even when it’s hard.

Your students are interrogating their positionalities with racetalk conversations. You’ve created a space where students are encouraged to reflect and actively work on their racetalk skills, learning how to accept constructive feedback from classmates so they can get better at having these conversations about race and racism.

Students of color in your class feel that their perspectives are validated and valued.

In this workshop, you’ll learn exactly how to overcome that resistance from students and create that brave space where students talk about race and racism even when it's uncomfortable. You’ll also learn how to do this in a way that reduces harm to and burden on students of color and helps them feel like their contributions and experience are respected and important.

This workshop is for you if:

  • You teach courses on race in any discipline or courses that address issues of race and racism as a topic throughout the course.

  • You teach Introduction to Sociology courses and other introductory social science courses where race and racism is discussed consistently.

  • You have trouble engaging white students in conversations about race and racism.


Whether you’re a graduate student teaching for the first time or you’re an Associate Professor with lots of experience teaching about race and racism, you’ll benefit from this workshop. You’ll also benefit from this workshop whether you teach at a predominately white institution or a racially and ethnically diverse institution.


By the end of this workshop, you’ll…

  • Have a draft lesson plan for your own “RaceTalk as a Skill” workshop, customized to you and your institutional context;

  • Know how to use the first day of class to establish a framework for antiracist pedagogy and expectations, beginning the process of building trust and a community within the classroom; and   

  • Return to the classroom with a plan, tools, and concrete strategy for engaging in cross-racial dialogues about race and racism in the classroom.


I’ve been teaching “RaceTalk as a Skill” to my students with great success for the last six years. I created this workshop because as a Black woman teaching about race and racism at a predominantly white institution, I consistently encountered resistance from students when it came to having conversations about race and racism. Resistance came in the form of silence, but it also came in the form of challenging me in ways that were meant to undermine my authority, and these incivilities often showed up in negative reviews of my teaching rooted in gendered and anti-Black perceptions of my ability as a teacher. I created a “RaceTalk as a Skill” workshop to address the issues I was experiencing in the classroom, and I'm excited for the opportunity to share this framework with you.



Workshop Details

  • Conducted via Zoom

  • Please note: you must be able to attend the entire time.

Have any questions? Email me and my team.



Testimonials from faculty and students


"Teaching RaceTalk as a Skill" was extremely helpful in providing me a template for talking about race in the classroom with my students. . . . I found the activities we conducted in class to spark a lot of conversation. Students of color were able to voice their feelings about race and provide thoughtful feedback to other students who had misconceptions about discussing race in social settings. White students said it was the first time that they ever felt comfortable talking about race with their peers of color and that it was a relief to meaningfully discuss something that they thought was taboo for so long.

Gina Longo, Assistant Professor, Virginia Commonwealth University

During our "Race Talk as a Skill" workshop, Dr. Richards created an environment that fostered growth. Being a Black female, I have always been familiar with speaking about race-related topics, but I grew more comfortable in the workshop with Dr. Richards because she allowed minorities’ voices to be centralized. . . .Through our workshop and semester, Dr. Richards created a class that emphasized perfection isn’t the goal but learning to respect, listen to, and understand others is.

Black woman college student, University of Richmond


The "Race-Talk as a Skill" workshop. . . revealed to me the implications and dangers of silence--especially white silence. . . .What I did not understand at the beginning was that it is more beneficial to say something out of ignorance and learn from it, rather than say nothing at all and be complicit in ignorance. Once the workshop ended, the impact it had on me certainly did not. I keep pushing myself to speak up in my other courses during discussions involving race.

White woman college student, University of Richmond

  • Facebook Social Icon
  • Twitter Social Icon
bottom of page