AFR 12
Introduction to Racial Literacy: Navigating Racial Stress For Healthier Minds and Relationships Winter 2022

Cross-listed PSYC 12 / AFR 12

Class Details

Talking about race is really hard. This is true even when we know all of the “right” language; racial conversations are more emotional than they are intellectual. Sometimes, we dive in with the best intentions and then our racial stress gets in the way, causing us to misspeak, overreact, underreact, or freeze in a racial moment. These responses are all very human, and we all deserve to have healthier racial conversations with friends, family, colleagues, and the person we just met at the grocery store who has a lot of opinions they want to share with us! This course will introduce you to the theoretical and practical applications of racial literacy-the ability to read, interpret, and resolve racial stress (Stevenson, 2014). Developing strong skills in racial literacy allows us to navigate even the most stressful intrapersonal and interpersonal racial moments in personal and professional settings. Together, we will engage in racial storytelling, journaling, relaxation techniques, and debating, ending with roleplaying sessions to practice using our skills as we tackle stressors that cause the most racial anxiety. We will use personal stories as well as written, audio, and visual texts to practice reading and assessing racial stress, while developing “comeback lines” to directly address the racial tension at the center of the conflicts. In addition to attendance and various forms of in-class participation, you will be expected to keep a journal throughout the entire course. You will also share a reflection paper and a final project that describe your racial literacy journey as well as your plans for future racial literacy practice. We will meet twice a week for three-hour sessions, and you will be expected to complete assignments outside of class; these assignments are opportunities for practice and reflection as you build racial literacy skills. Anyone and everyone is welcome to join this course, regardless of background and/or personal experiences with race.
The Class: Format: lecture
Limit: 15
Grading: pass/fail only
Requirements/Evaluation: short paper and final project or presentation
Prerequisites: none
Enrollment Preferences: preference given to seniors
Unit Notes: Dr. Jones' scholarship focuses on dis/ability and giftedness in the narratives of and about Black and Brown youth, the racialized school-to-prison pipeline, and racial literacy education in schools. She works with schools to heal relationships damaged by racial stress, and is the Distinguished Visiting Professor of Education at Williams College for the 2021-2022 school year. She graduated from Williams in 2008.
Materials/Lab Fee: none
Notes: This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit:
PSYC 12 AFR 12

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