Finally, a National Conversation on Race!

For years, we’ve all been lamenting the lack of a real, meaningful national discussion on race. Starting September 29, we hope you’ll join us to fix that.

We are very excited to announce today the “Race and America’s Future Virtual Book Club” – a six-week, online book club exploring the challenges and opportunities facing our changing nation.

The club will be based around the structure of our new book, Uncommon Common Ground: Race and America’s Future. (Note: None of us profit from these book sales. All proceeds go to the publisher.)

Every Wednesday right here on EquityBlog starting September 29, we will host an online conversation looking at crucial issues facing America as we push toward 2050 and our inevitable future as a nation with no majority ethnic or racial group.

Uncommon Common Ground Book CoverSept. 29: Are We Post-Racial Yet?
Oct. 6:
Color Lines: Growing and Accepting Diversity
Oct. 13:
Race and the Economy
Oct. 20:
Urgent Challenges: Immigration, Incarceration, and Climate Change
Oct. 27:
New Leadership for now and 2050
Nov. 3: Equity is the Superior Growth Model

We want to hear from you, though. Tell us what issues you want to talk about in this conversation.

We hope you will join us – and lead the national dialogue we need.

Thank you,
Angela Glover Blackwell, Stewart Kwoh, and Manuel Pastor
Co-authors, Uncommon Common Ground

Uncommon Common Ground Co-Authors

"Uncommon Common Ground" Co-Authors Manuel Pastor, Stewart Kwoh, and Angela Glover Blackwell

For more on the authors, please visit

48 Responses to “Finally, a National Conversation on Race!”

  1. avatar

    Personally, I can't wait for this conversation. It's long-overdue to have a real, honest, and hopeful conversation about race in America.

  2. avatar

    Graciously appreciative of a national forum on addressing the root causes of our systemic, social epidemic, I'm exhilarated to learn from and share with the collective consciousness.

    We have the power to impact social change and transform our communities. We are shifting consciousness to heart–centered systems, versus our punitive systems presently in place. Trauma informed care will create the paradigm shift in the services industries. Restorative Practice will instill the paradigm shift in our community cultures. And the greatest power of all, our innate gifts of unlimited potential, will be the paradigm shift in our society as a whole. Our interconnectivity through our hearts is ultimately our paradigm shift globally… IIndividually, we have a choice… We are either part of the problem… or part of the solution.

    With blessings… Youth Advocate/Community Organizer, Dana Brown

  3. avatar

    Hi…i'm new at this. I'd like to participate but don't fully understand the format. Do i need to register? How does a virtual book review work? what time should i log in to participate in the conversation? thanks

  4. avatar

    Good morning. I have the same questions as Michele. I would very much like to participate but am not sure how to proceed. Any guidance would be appreciated.

  5. avatar

    Put me down with Michele and Gail for needing instruction. Thanks.

  6. avatar

    Put me down with Michele, Dianne and Gail for needing instruction. Thanks.

  7. avatar

    Thanks Michele, Gail, Dianne, and Sue! The way to participate is easy — in fact, you've already done it! Every Wednesday starting Sept. 29, we will post on EquityBlog a short video introduction from one of the authors and they will offer some questions for conversation.

    Then, the conversation will happen in the comments. Once the book club actually starts, we will be requiring people to comment under their real names — that means you can be automatically signed in as your Facebook ID (like me), your Twitter ID, or you can sign up for a new ID with the Intense Debate system. Just click on the way you want to comment and you'll be taken there.

    The big takeaway, though, is that you don't have to do anything just yet. We wanted to make this as open and free a conversation as possible. We will be emailing out more details. If you haven't signed up for PolicyLink emails, visit to get connected.

    Is that any clearer? We want this to be as simple a process as possible, so please let us know if you have any other questions.

  8. avatar

    Also, if you haven't gotten a copy of Uncommon Common Ground yet, you should. (You can find it at Amazon). The six-week conversation will be based around the book's structure.

  9. avatar

    Looking forward to this long overdue discussion.

  10. avatar

    I just ordered the book and hope it arrives in time (my confirmation showed it was back-ordered). Looking forward to the conversations with everyone about the topic.

  11. avatar

    I am looking forward to the discussion!

  12. avatar

    I just received my book in the mail today and look forward to participating in this virtual dialogue.

  13. avatar

    i can't figure out how to join — please help!!

    • avatar

      The great part about it, Jennifer, is there's nothing to join. Next Wednesday, just come back to (or, read the first entry, and jump into the conversation in the comments….just like you did here.

  14. avatar

    Will there be groundrules for discussion?

  15. avatar

    " 'They're standing on the corner and they can't speak English. I can't even talk the way these people talk:
    Why you ain't, Where you is, What he drive, Where he stay, Where he work, Who you be… And I blamed the kid until I heard the mother talk. And then I heard the father talk. Everybody knows it's important to speak English except these knuckleheads. You can't be a doctor with that kind of crap coming out of your mouth In fact you will never get any kind of job making a decent living. People marched and were hit in the face with rocks to get an Education, and now we've got these knuckleheads walking around. The lower economic people are not holding up their end in this deal. These people are not parenting. They are buying things for kids. $500 sneakers for what? And they won't spend $200 for Hooked on Phonics. I am talking about these people who cry when their son is standing there in an orange suit. Where were you when he was 2? Where were you when he was 12? Where were you when he was 18 and how come you didn't know that he had a pistol? And where is the father? Or who is his father?

  16. avatar

    People putting their clothes on backward: Isn't that a sign of something gone wrong? People with their hats on backward, pants down around the crack, isn't that a sign of something? Isn't it a sign of something when she has her dress all the way up and got all type of needles [piercing] going through her body? What part of Africa did this come from?? We are not Africans. Those people are not Africans; they don't know a thing about Africa ….. I say this all of the time. It would be like white people saying they are European-American. That is totally stupid. I was born here, and so were my parents and grand parents and, very likely my great grandparents. I don't have any connection to Africa, no more than white Americans have to Germany ,Scotland, England, Ireland , or the Netherlands . The same applies to 99 percent of all the black Americans as regards to Africa . So stop, already! ! ! With names like Shaniqua, Taliqua and Mohammed and all of that crap ……… And all of them are in jail.

  17. avatar

    So tell me how honest are you planning to be? Really?

  18. avatar

    Construction…an interesting choice of words. Construction is exactly what's needed. When do the actions of the past give way to the reality of the present? The core issue in the race discussion is BLAMING. I think a natural ground rule for an open discussion needs to enjoin an attitude that foregoes blaming…Look my grandparents came from Russia, I'm Jewish and they living under the Czar's pogroms (if you don't know what they are google it). But to the black guy passing me on the street I'm justanotherwhiteguytryingtokeephimdown…or that's how he looks at me. I genuinely feel no guilt that his ancestors were slaves in America, or that they were sold into slavery by their rival tribesman in Africa.
    but when it's all about blame I'm justanotherwhiteguytryingtokeephimdown …..most the the dialogues I've heard about race are too cowardly to even approach the issues…But I'm really not…afraid that is….
    (btw what are we waiting for? If we want to talk we should start the talk …)

  19. avatar

    Don't you think you benefit in any way because of where you were born or where you choose to live, being a citizen of a 1st world country vs the 3rd world? Don't you think that the people in Costa Rica benefit from living and enjoying the rain forest? Don't you think that the people who live in Frnace enjoy a benefit from living in a country where there are hundreds of types of hand made cheeses?
    The question I have for you is how do we define the parameters and terms of this conversation? Quite honestly Cheryl your comments are a non-sequitor they do not fit with the conversation of race in America, or are we including te whole world? Is everything up for grabs? Are we to reach back into history and talk about how the egyptians enslaved the Israelites? Don't they owe the Jewa 'reparations'?
    If we straytoo far from a central theme the conversation quickly becomes …well, unhinged!

  20. avatar

    Why "feel guilty' ? Guilt leaves us feeling helpless, I don;t think I want to be part of a conversation with a stated goal of " shouldn't <you/we>feel guilty" for what's happening…and no I don't think feeling guilty would come close to finding a solution. If you want to feel guilty…don't let me stop you! But if you actually dare to believe that you have the intellegence and audacity to reach up for a solution then guilt becomes paralizing….we don't need guilt there's plenty of that already swirling as an undercurrent through race relations in America.
    Guess what? It hasn't done a thing to improve the situation! Has it?
    In Avatar Jake didn't feel guilty…he found solutions, he risked his life to create a situation where the underdogs of the story could fight back….and level the playing field. How can there be a level playing field when half the people are feeling guilty and the other half are working at finding ways to leverage that guilt to their own ends? Is that liberty and justice for all? Sorry I just can't agree with that kind of narrow minded thinking.
    Maybe I'm a dreamer.

  21. avatar

    I'm looking forward to the conversation and told our whole network about it. Thank you for explaining how it works – I kept looking for a start time. Be with you tomorrow!

  22. avatar

    I would to introduce for reading and reflection the book I co-authored with my wife, Strength-Based Empowerment Theory, A MODEL FOR LIFTING THE SPIRIT, REPROGRAMMING THE MIND, INSTILLING SELF-LOVE, AND DEVELOPING SELF-RELIANCE IN THE AFRICAN AMERICAN MALE OFFENDER. It is available at

  23. avatar

    I too am interested in understanding how to navigate through this system. Thanks

  24. avatar

    Race will always remain a subject people will deliver with strong views as it relates to them and others at large. I think the focus on race is too much but then, what is too much and or too little? Race issues will never be eradicated because it is part of the America psyche. It is hypocritical to state 'We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, —-', but constitutionally allowed conducts that go counter to what is written. With that history, the beneficiaries became ingrained in the notion of who is superior and inferior. Such an ingrained sense of superiority is hard to overcome even when the so called 'inferior' folks are actually superior. Except the oppressed stands up and confront the oppressor, nothing ever happens. It is a bottomless pitch.

  25. avatar

    I think it is a lost opportunity that we do not re-engage a conversation with Don Imus and the Seinfeld show actor who made serious, public, racial slurs in recent years. I imagine a PR campaign where people like them admit to being racist…because at some level, everybody has racial stereotypes and uses them consciously and unconsciously. Racial stereotyping is something that has to be unlearned for many adults. I am the son of a white WWII veteran. I have spent most of my adult life consciously unlearning racist thinking. Looking forward to this dialogue.

  26. avatar

    Are we in a post racial society or in a society that is not post racial. American society/goverment starting in the 1600's prime directive was to provide laws and goverance for the white rich male(ask jefferson the third president). Any laws not benfiting this group were consider unamericanAND based on dehumanizing and devalue of any group not white male. We suffer in this post racial society of perception vs reality. We belive there is choice,when in reality a zip code can determine how long you live. An Africian law prof stated the mental and pyschosocial trauma of Africians post slavery could be viewed as being in a game chess /poker – were you opponent owns,the game board pieces and can change the rules at any time, he wins for about 400 plus years and then at the end of the game with his chips stacked high,declaresgame over- now is that fair in a postracial society eQUITY IS A GOAL IF YOU MEET ME HALFWAY THE TEA PARTY SHOULD MAKE ANYONE A SOCAIL ACTVIST GEORGE PEARSON peace

  27. avatar

    I think that your qualifier " even when the so called 'inferior' folks are actually superior" is not very helpful…If we stick with that approach there is no room to real communication. I have recently done research that shows that the difference between the races has many 'non-racial' pieces to it.
    There are differences in the cultures of people with the same American upbringing. Personally my ancestors came to America in the early 20th century (about 1913) and had left the crushing oppresion of Eastern Europe (Russia and Romania) to found new lives in America. They came here penniless, worked hard, raised families…. there are cultural differences that separate us….it's not the color of our skins…it's how we think about the world that separates us. The most obvious difference is the focus on education.
    For example, the Jews came to this country, were reviled (as were the Irish..but that's another story!) and they worked and saved and sent their children to school….And then their childen either got jobs or started their own companies…they didn;t wait to be accepted they just did it…Or they were butchers or candlestick makers or whatever…they EARNED THEIR WAY INTO BEING AMERICANS.

  28. avatar


  29. avatar

    Is this conversation over?
    I responded to Ms. Blackwell's question "Why don't we like to talk about race" on the Moyers' website. It posted briefly but when I went back to the site looking for feedback it was gone. I have inquired about this at Moyers Co. and they are unable to locate my comment. They have invited me to repost it, but now I'm wondering if the Policylink site would be more a more appropriate site to post my opinion on because Ms. Blackwell posed this very serious question. If so, should I write my comment here or somewhere else?

  30. avatar


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