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How to Have Hard Conversations About Race and Racism

February 1, 2022


The topic of Race in America is complicated and has unfortunately become increasingly controversial. The Planning Committee knew that we wanted to address Race in this year’s Seminar, but we had a difficult time figuring out a meaningful approach. It came together when we found Shanelle Henry, Director of Equity and Inclusion at Greens Farms Academy in Westport, Connecticut. Shanelle has made this her life’s work, and we are grateful for the guidance she has provided. Following is a list of Resources provided by Shanelle:


NPR: 'Raising White Kids' Author On How White Parents Can Talk About Race


ARTICLE: ‘To Be Anti-Racist, Let Go of Color-blindness'

PODCAST: 'Seeing White' Series on Scene On Radio (History of Race in America)

BOOK: The Person You Mean to Be, How Good People Fight Bias by Dolly Chugh


In 1989, Peggy McIntosh, a senior research scientist at the Wellesley Centers for Women, published “White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack.” From a similar perspective, Debby Irving wrote Waking Up White. More recently we read Caste, by Isabel Wilkerson.


Our interest in this topic was piqued by the intense response—both pro and con—to “The 1619 Project” by Nikole Hannah-Jones, which was published in the New York Times’s Sunday Magazine on August 18, 2019. Here is a link to a PDF of the article, with ads.  It has since become a book.


John McWhorter, an Associate Professor of linguistics at Columbia University, wrote in the New York Times on October 29, 2021, I’m With Condoleezza Rice About White Guilt. McWhorter has also published a book on “Woke Racism.”


Another perspective is from the online newsletter Popular Information: Martin Luther King Said More than 35 Words.


There are many articles, podcasts, newsletters, and news reports on this topic, and more become available every day. Please send an email to with additional suggestions and we will update Resources on our website. Thank you for your continued participation.



The Alumnae Seminar Planning Committee

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