Engaging in race-related discourse is a much needed form of educational intervention that seeks to address inequity, racism, and white supremacy in the college classroom. Scholars have articulated the importance of such dialogue (Bryan, Wilson, Lewis, & Willis, 2015; Sue, 2015) and indicate that educators lack the proper training to facilitate race talk in a meaningful way. Race talk is used to address racism and interrogate the systems that perpetuate racist practice and policy—it functions as a way to gain racial literacy in academic spaces (Bryan et. al., 2015). When this dialogue does not happen in higher education, instructors, faculty, and staff are complicit in maintaining the status quo. One way to inspire discussion about race is to create a humanizing experience through personal narratives.
Storytelling or narrative-sharing have been used for decades in a myriad of academic disciplines to study the experiences of people in social science (Bruner, 2002); medicine (Randall, 2007); psychology (Church, 1995; Coles, 1989; Shafer, 1992); and higher education (Behar, 1996; Rodman, 2007). RaceTalk panels are an educational intervention that provide a unique, storytelling panel-presentation experience that may help inspire dialogue and interrogate the presence of dominant culture in educational institutions. To date, there is no literature that can articulate the efficacy of race-related, student-led panels in college classrooms. Therefore, a research team has been developed to assess the efficacy of RaceTalk panels while investigating the social attitudes and behaviors of students, faculty, and staff regarding racism at Western Michigan University.