Face-2-Face (F2F) conversations are discussions dealing with race and racial conflict. Because race is a sensitive and controversial topic, F2F conversations provide a forum for interesting, illuminating and real conversation—student to student—without reinforcing tired stereotypes, amplifying hostility, or spreading more misinformation about the very real and complex racial conflicts playing out in America today.
The hope is that participants are ready to move outside their comfort zones, ready to examine implicit assumptions and thoughtfully challenge those of others. Even more basic, participants should be willing to listen without interruption, to someone expressing a view that you may not initially agree with, or may not fully understand; to let others tell their story and be heard with the same patience and attentiveness and respect others will demonstrate when you share your thoughts or concerns.
Everyone should be prepared to speak honestly, openly, and with decency and respect; to think critically about what is being said and heard; to try to place yourself in the position of those speaking, to feel what it might be like to walk a mile in their shoes so that you might better understand how the speaker came to hold the views that they are sharing. And for those who really want to learn something, there must be a willingness to expand consciousness about an uncomfortable and divisive subject, a topic that cannot be discussed without facing the very real pain and hurt and harm central to racial conflict, and to share an aspiration as old as America itself, that we might find ways to work together with everyone in the group toward justice, reconciliation, and redemption.
The conversations are held in a casual setting that encourages open conversation. There are no formal rules or format to a F2F conversation; it simply begins with a facilitator or moderator making a few opening statements, reading a selected passage, or posing a question, and then encouraging participants to join the conversation.
Example Conversations from past years
- Does your health care provider consider race and culture in planning your care?
- What Race is a Hero?
- Let’s Talk about the Police
- What’s the Point of Discrimination?
- The (Un?)Constitutionality of Hate Speech
- Remembering the 1970 Jackson State Killings; Understanding Black Lives Matter
- What’s in a name?
- Racism: The Impact on Infant Mortality
- Viewing Globally and Acting Locally to Promote Our Health
- What race are Hispanics?
- Race and the 2016 Campaign
- Let’s Save the World!
- Why Akron Matters in the Refugee Crisis
- Fighting Abstract Racism: Rethinking Race-Based Mascots
- The Obama Legacy: What do you think?
- Whose story is this? Decolonizing Education
- Political Correctness: Archie Bunker to Donald Trump