For your radical self-work this week, we are asking you all to engage racial
storytelling. According to Johnson (2017), racial storytelling illustrates how our racial
encounters from the past situate themselves in the current moment and still haunt
us in the present moment.
In particular, he argues that racial storytelling:
1. allows us to confront our racial hauntings and to work against our own miseducation
while moving toward liberation and self-actualization, and
2. illuminates how our multiple identities and our social identity markers (e.g., gender, class,
sexual orientation, nationality, religion, language, and dis/ability) all influence how we
are racialized and are always in complex dialogue with each other.
For this racial storytelling activity, we are asking you to select one of the prompts
and respond in 100-250 words. We have divided the prompts into two categories
based on how you identify: Person of color or a white person. Please select a prompt
and include your written response in a thread.
1. Oluo states on page 22 that “if you are a person of color, know this: the world will try to
tell you that what you are seeing, hearing, thinking, and feeling is wrong. The world will
tell you that you do not know how to interpret what is happening to you and to your
community. But you are not wrong, and you have just as much right to be heard and
believed as anybody else. If you think it’s about race, you are right.” Can you think of a
racial experience that made you second guess whether or not you were experiencing
2. On pages 7-8, Kendi describes how he had internalized anti-black racism and contributed
to perpetuating racist ideas: “A racist culture had handed me the ammunition to shoot
Black people, to shoot myself, and I took and used it. Internalized racism is the real Black
on Black crime” (p. 8). Can you recall a moment where you’ve internalized racism? Have
you ever intentionally or unintentionally held prejudice or discriminated against another
person who had the same racial/ethnic identity as you or another person of color? Has
someone with the same racial/ethnic identity ever done this to you?
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