Home / Lesson Plans / The Race Issue – Discussion Guide

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The Race Issue | National Geographic - April 2018

Discussing race in our learning environments is critical. Race is one social construct that impacts the everyday lives of all students in this country. We have been warned not to discuss race, politics, or religion, but those very constructs are at the heart of human identity, human conflict, and human healing. As educators, we have the unique power to facilitate safe, open conversations and move young people toward a better future. 

We must also understand that one story, one lens, and one source do not tell all. We must engage multiple sources, invite varying perspectives, and analyze facts. We must provide opportunities for students to learn, address our own implicit biases, and allow for deeper thought and cross-cultural understanding to emerge. 
We hope this discussion guide to accompany National Geographic's The Race Issue can be a resource to foster authentic classroom dialogues, cultivate safe learning environments, and provide students with the opportunity for cross-cultural understanding in our collective work toward a future of racial healing.


From National Geographic
Heading into the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.'s assassination, editor Susan Goldberg reflects on National Geographic Magazine's role in perpetuating stereotypes ingrained in white American culture.

Dedication Message
A message from Katie Couric, Executive Producer and Host, America Inside Out With Katie Couric.

A Note to Educators
A note to educators on strategies to examine how race and racism are being talked about and how to facilitate positive outcomes while having these conversations in their classrooms.

A Color Wheel of Humanity
When did we begin to look at our humanity through a wheel of color? Readers are invited to deepen their understanding and perspectives of colorism and colorblindness.

A Place of Their Own
Why have black colleges and universities (HBCUs) been a haven for black tradition, culture, and activism? Readers are invited to learn more about the historical roots of these institutions and how formerly enslaved people created access to education.

The Things That Divide Us
The intersections of identity formation, land rights, religion, and cultural traditions are also often sites of global conflicts. Readers are invited to examine these global issues from multiple perspectives and reflect on conflict transformation skills in their own family.

Streets in His Name
Readers are invited to reflect on how a street named in commemoration of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s life should also embody the social justice framework and equity reflective of his movement.

The Muslim Next Door
Viewers of “The Muslim Next Door” from National Geographic’s new television series America Inside Out with Katie Couric are invited to reflect on how gender, race and religion intersect with society's understanding of Muslim people.

Skin Deep
Race is a social construct used by those in power to dehumanize others for the purpose of gaining real or perceived power. Readers are invited to reflect on the historical context of how genetics has been used to validate racist world views.

The Many Colors of Matrimony
A generation after Loving v. Virginia came before the Supreme Court, interracial families reflect on the historical challenges, contemporary strengths, and cultural needs of the community today.

The Stop
People of color experience profiling at the intersection of racism and classism in communities across the country. Readers are invited to reflect on belonging and how families and communities are affected by discrimination.

The Rising Anxiety of White America
White residents of Hazleton, Pennsylvania, now live in a city with over half its population residents of color. Readers are invited to dialogue about the basis of fears by white people that emerge on the path of equity and equality.

Re-Righting History
Viewers of“Re-Righting History” from National Geographic’s new television series America Inside Out with Katie Couric are invited to reflect on the educational, social and cultural impact of preserving historical monuments or symbols erected during Jim Crow.


The Race Issue_DG.pdf