by Frances Reid
SKIN DEEP was produced in response to the growing wave of racial hatred and violence in this country. It was made out of the belief that talking about racial issues, both in interracial dialogue and in homogeneous groups, is a necessary first step towards taking action to undo the racial inequities that permeate our institutions and communities and that affect us all deeply as individuals. The film was designed to stimulate that dialogue, and the students in SKIN DEEP were chosen for their ability and willingness to speak candidly about a subject that is often difficult for people to address honestly.
To talk openly about race and racism means being willing to take risks. This booklet has been compiled to help facilitators guide discussion participants through those risks. The first eight pages of the guide are filled with practical suggestions for leading discussions. These are followed with several pages of background material that will help equip facilitators with information that may be useful during discussions. We have tried to provide you with as much information as we can as briefly as possible. Because the issues surrounding race, racism, diversity, and multiculturalism are very complex, we encourage you to do further reading and, to that end, we have included a reading list at the end of the guide.
While the focus of SKIN DEEP and of this guide is on college students and the campus environment, we have found that the film works equally well in many other situations, including with high school students and with adults in community groups, in corporations and other work place situations, and as in-service training for educators, law enforcement officials, social workers, etc.
We have written this guide with enough flexibility so that the information in it may be used in a variety of situations, and there is a specific section of suggestions for working with faculty and staff of educational institutions.
The most important first step one needs to take in preparing to lead a discussion of SKIN DEEP is to think about your audience and what their needs will be. Who are they? Is it a multi-racial or a homogeneous group? Is it intergenerational or all one age group? What is the worldview and life experience they will be bringing to the discussion? Secondly, you need to assess what your goals are for the discussion, and to direct your questions and comments accordingly. This guide has been designed to help you with those questions.