Coronavirus – Race in the Time of Corona

Conversation Guide

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At this point, Race and the Coronavirus can not be separated. In our efforts to feel like we can do something to protect ourselves, some of us have succumbed to our baser instincts. This is evident in the ways some Americans have treated people of Asian descent or how people of African descent are being treated in China. By talking about race in light of the Coronavirus/COVID-19 impact on our world, we are acknowledging awareness of the importance of this continued work. As we develop our ability and capacity to communicate across differences, we also become better global problem solvers. If we can take anything from this season in history, let it be this–that we are interconnected and need one another to survive in challenging times and to thrive as a global community.

Let's Get Started!

Living Room Conversations offers a simple, sociable and structured way to practice communicating across differences while building understanding and relationships. Typically, 4-6 people meet in person or by video call for about 90 minutes to listen to and be heard by others on one of our nearly 100 topics. Rather than debating or convincing others, we take turns talking to share, learn, and be curious. No preparation is required, though background links with balanced views are available on some topic pages online. Anyone can host using these italicized instructions. Hosts also participate. 

Why We're Here (~10 min)

Each participant has 1 minute to introduce themselves.

Share your name, where you live, what drew you here, and if this is your first conversation.

Conversation Agreements:
How We'll Engage (~5 min)

These will set the tone of our conversation; participants may volunteer to take turns reading them aloud. (Click here for the full conversation agreements.)

  • Be curious and listen to understand.
  • Show respect and suspend judgment. 
  • Note any common ground as well as any differences. 
  • Be authentic and welcome that from others. 
  • Be purposeful and to the point. 
  • Own and guide the conversation. 

Question Rounds:
What We’ll Talk About

Optional: a participant can keep track of time and gently let people know when their time has elapsed.

Round 1:
Getting to Know Each Other (~10 min)

Each participant can take 1-2 minutes to answer one of these questions:

  • What are your hopes and concerns for your family, community and/or the country?
  • What would your best friend say about who you are?
  • What sense of purpose / mission / duty guides you in your life?

Round 2:

Race in the Time of Corona (~40 min)

One participant can volunteer to read the paragraph at the top of the web page.

Take ~2 minutes each to answer a question below without interruption or crosstalk. After everyone has answered, the group may take a few minutes for clarifying or follow up questions/responses. Continue exploring additional questions as time allows..

  • To what degree has addressing the issues of race in our country been a concern of yours prior to this pandemic? Has the pandemic made it more or less relevant to you? If so, how?
  • How have you seen responses to the Coronavirus impact racial polarization in the country? In your community? How have responses drawn us closer together or deepened our divisions?
  • What factors contribute to your perceived degree of safety or lack of safety from contacting the Coronavirus in your surroundings? What is that like for you?
  • Have you witnessed/experienced events of racism or racial scapegoating in the time of the Coronavirus? What happened and how did that affect you?
  • How have you seen our society’s problems reflected by the politicization and racial discrimination of some people through reactions to Coronavirus?

Round 3:
Reflecting on the Conversation (~15 min)

Take 2 minutes to answer one of the following questions:

  • What was most meaningful / valuable to you in this Living Room Conversation?
  • What learning, new understanding or common ground was found on the topic?
  • How has this conversation changed your perception of anyone in this group, including yourself?
  • Is there a next step you would like to take based upon the conversation you just had?

Closing (~5 min)

  • Give us feedback! Find our feedback form here.
  • Donate! Make more of these possible; give here.
  • Join or host more conversations! With a) this group by exchanging your emails; b) others in person and/or by video call online. Get more involved or learn how to host here.

Thank You!