Even in 2014, discussing race, ethnicity, and cultural identity can make for a difficult conversation. Political correctness causes apprehension and sometimes others aren’t sure how they feel about race. Words can have a large impact, but so can silence.
Based on NPR Reporter, Michelle Norris’ national project, the Utah Race Card Project instigates candid dialogue about race, ethnicity, and cultural identity by asking people to write one sentence of only six words on the issue.
The idea is to think about the word “Race.” By condensing your thoughts, experiences, or observations about race into a sentence of only six words, it evokes a thoughtful discussion about how race affects individuals, across the country.
Since beginning in 2010, the project has received tens of thousands of six word stories from all over the world. From those six words, community participants have written longer works of poetry, nonfiction or fiction exploring their own thoughts, feelings or experiences with race.
The Utah Race Card project is collaboration with the Salt Lake Community College Community Writing Center, SLCC Arts & Cultural Events, and many other community partners.
From multiple Race Card Walls, guest speakers, panels, exhibits and an anthology, locals are able to share their views and experiences about a topic not often discussed.
These local voices from Utah make up Race: Perspectives community-writing anthology. Race: Perspectives is a publication of the Utah Race Card project. This anthology embodies community writers’ viewpoints on race and cultural identity. The full anthology is available online here.
“Being from Sudan, a country with a seemingly-infinite number of spoken languages and dialects,” says University of Utah Atong Majok in this post on the Race Card website. “I still find it baffling that many white Americans think they can ‘know’ something about a person merely by looking at their skin tone…”
The Race Card project allows students like Majok to share their thoughts and experiences of racism openly and without judgment, which can be difficult on an open platform, such as the Internet. Having a safe environment to discuss such an important aspect of our culture creates a continuous dialogue that can bring understanding and enlightenment to a sometimes dark and painful subject.
The Utah Race Card project plans to continue the community conversation on race, ethnicity and cultural identity.
For more information about upcoming events or how you can share your voice or get involved, call the SLCC Community Writing Center at 801-957-2192 or visit theracecardproject.com.