Substituting terms describing racial identity with seemingly race-neutral terms that disguise explicit and/or implicit racial animus.

Injects language that triggers racial stereotypes and other negative associations without the stigma of explicit racism. Fosters anxiety among audiences for the coverage and dehumanizes people and communities of color.

Two or three shoplifting incidents in a downtown area, allegedly perpetrated by 8 to 10 African American junior high students, draw the attention of local news media. Quotes or descriptions from witnesses characterize the 11- to 12-year olds using “pack animal” imagery and terms such as “hyenas,” “menacing” and “vicious,” that play to white stereotypes and fears of youth of color.

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In This Section:

Intro: Seven Harmful Racial Discourse Practices to Avoid
  1. Individualizing Racism
  2. Falsely Equating Incomparable Acts
  3. Diverting From Race
  4. Portraying Government as Overreaching
  5. Prioritizing Intent Over Impact
  6. Coded Language
  7. Silencing History

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“Creating the Space to Talk About Race in Your School” content on this web site and in our "Racial Justice in Education" resource guide © 2017 National Education Association, in collaboration with Race Forward.