WBEZ Community Conversations on “Race Out Loud”

WBEZ is a publicly funded radio station that provides a wide array of programs to reflect the diversity of the Chicagoland area. This diverse programming – including news, human interest, and pop culture – helps listeners learn about important community, national, and world issues and ideas.

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This is the only platform I am aware of which brings together Chicagoans from virtually any background.

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--WBEZ Race Out Loud Discussion Participant

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You’re pulling community members into one room who may never meet and talk. I think just providing the space and structure for conversation is the most worthwhile

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--WBEZ Race Out Loud Discussion Participant

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[Most worthwhile was:] Hearing new perspectives and meeting new people. Being forced to question the choices I’ve made about community, identity, etc

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--WBEZ Race Out Loud Discussion Participant

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Most worthwhile was 'listening to other people, feeling the tension, but valuing the conversation even more because of it.'

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--WBEZ Race Out Loud Discussion Participant

Audience Focus

47 Chicago community members from a variety of racial backgrounds.

Goals

  1. Help participants talk about race in a thoughtful, open-minded way.
  2. Give participants the space to reflect on personal and professional experiences with race -- and clarify their own beliefs in the process.
  3. Create a sense of community and help community members to meet and connect across difference.

Project Description

The Center for Civic Reflection partnered with WBEZ Chicago Public Media to lead 3 community conversations on race on the South Side, West Side, and North Side of Chicago. The discussions were part of WBEZ’s ongoing series, “Race Out Loud”, which facilitates frank conversations on the air and at public events, with the goal of getting Chicagoans to talk to each other about race, discrimination, segregation, and the changing Chicago landscape.

In each of the three CCR discussions, participants read an excerpt from Studs Terkel’s Race: How Blacks and Whites Think and Feel About the American Obsession. The reading served as a catalyst for the discussions, as participants shared their experiences with racial inequality and thoughts on Chicago’s historical and contemporary attitudes about race. The dialogues helped to debunk, affirm and/or change the participants' thoughts about race and gave them an opportunity to hear about how race impacts their fellow community members' lives on a day-to-day basis. Discussion participants emerged with connections with other community members and new ideas for how to approach race in their communities, families, schools, organizations, and lives.

Impact

  1. 87% of survey respondents indicated that they valued learning from and hearing perspectives from their community.
  2. 79% of survey respondents responded that the discussions helped them think more deeply about race and ethnicity to a “great” or “some extent.”
  3. Nearly 80% of survey respondents reported that the discussion helped them feel more connected to other community members.

Tags

public programsdemocratic dialogue

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