Tips and Tactics for Talking about Race: A Toolkit for School Social Workers

Kenneth V. Hardy, Ph.D. 

Race remains a potent and polarizing issue in all domains of our society. Schools are no exception. Racial strife, misunderstanding, and even polarization are increasingly common occurrences in many of our schools.  Despite the omnipresence of race in our lives, progressive and meaningful conversations about race remain somewhere between difficult and impossible.  Our efforts to talk about race openly and effectively are often characterized by avoidance, discomfort and awkwardness. School Social Workers are often relied upon to navigate many of these difficult conversations and often without the requisite tools to do so.

This address will provide School Social Workers with tips and tools for promoting sustainable conversations about race within and outside of the school community with students, teachers, parents and each other. Relevant racially based Self of the Social Worker issues that may impede and/or facilitate effective and meaningful conversations will be explored.

Following the completion of the keynote, participants will be able to:

  1. Identify and effectively address race-related microaggressions that impede progressive conversations about race;
  2. Use the VCR (Validate, Challenge and Request) as an effective tool for addressing hot button racial issues in school and others settings;
  3. Use the Privilege And Subjugated Tasks Model (PAST) to effectively engage in conversations about race and culture.