Talking About Race: Discussion Guide

Selected Resources for Understanding Systemic Racism in the United States


The following websites provide supplemental information and activities that can be used in conjunction with the films.

Race: The Power of an Illusion

This is a wonderfully informative and interactive website which explores the ways that race resides not in nature but in U.S. politics, economics, and culture. Interactive activities guide students to an understanding of the ways that race has been socially constructed throughout U.S. history and the ways that institutionalized racism has led to current racial inequality.


This site explores the causes and consequences of prejudice. The site includes over 2,000 links to other prejudice-related resources as well as searchable databases. Although the site in intended for use as a supplement to a college textbook titled Understanding Prejudice (McGraw-Hill) all pages and activities are freely available for use.


The following is a short list of books that have proven to be particularly well suited for work with college students. They cover a range of topics including the development of the concept of race (Smedley), the history of institutionalized racism (Takaki, Oliver & Shapiro), current manifestations of racism (Bonilla-Silva, Feagin), racial identity development (Tatum) and white privilege (Bush, Wise,). Taken together they build a picture of how past and present institutionalized racism and racist ideology has resulted in contemporary racial inequality. Although there are many other valuable books and articles about racism, the following constitute a foundational library for anyone teaching about issues of racism today.

Bonilla-Silva, E. (2001). White supremacy and racism in the post-civil rights era. Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner.

Bush, M. (2004) Breaking the code of good intentions: Everyday forms of whiteness. Lanham. Maryland: Rowan & Littlefield.

Brown, M. K., Carnoy, M., Currie, E., Duster, T., Oppenheimer, D., Shultz, M., et al. (2003). Whitewashing race: the myth of a color-blind society. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Lipsitz, G. (1998). The possessive investment in whiteness: How white people profit from identity politics. Philadelphia: Temple University Press.

Feagin, J.R. (2001). Racist America: Roots, current realities, & future reparations. New York: Routledge.

Smedley, A. (1999). Race in North America (second ed.). Boulder, CO: Westview Press.

Takaki, R. (1993) A different mirror: A multicultural history of America. Boston: Little, Brown and Company.

Tatum, B. (1997) Why are all the Black kids sitting together in the cafeteria? New York: Basic Books.

McNamee, S.J., & Miller, R.K. (2004) The meritocracy myth. New York: Rowan & Littlefield.

Oliver, M. L., & Shapiro, T.M. (1997). Black wealth/white wealth. New York: Routledge.

Roediger, D. (1991). The wages of whiteness: Race and the making of the American working class. New York: Verso.

Wise, T. (2005). Affirmative action: Racial preference in Black and White. New York: Routledge.

Wise, T. (2005). White like me: Reflections on race from a privileged son. Brooklyn: Soft Skull Press.

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