Talking About Race
Lead with shared values: Opportunity, Community, Common Good.
- Helps audiences to “hear” our messages.
- More effective than dry facts or emotional rhetoric.
Over-document the barriers to equal opportunity—especially racial bias.
- Evidence of unequal outcomes alone can reinforce stereotypes and blame.
- Document how people of color frequently face stiff and unequal barriers to opportunity.
Use big picture and systemic stories over an individual focus.
- Helps to connect the dots for audiences.
- Avoids narrow focus on individual triumphs or failures.
- Moves responsibility to a systemic level.
Be rigorously solution-oriented.
- Avoids “compassion fatigue” and inaction.
- Links problems to clear, positive solutions and actions.
- Our communities need law enforcement that is accountable, and stands for equal justice, and holds basic respect for human rights.
- The Department of Justice is the federal agency that can best ensure that departments uphold civil rights, but it has not done enough and has instead engaged in some misguided and problematic programs. For example, at the same time that DOJ was investigating the Cleveland Police Department for a pattern or practice of civil rights violations, it was actually subsidizing the department's practices as part of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS), a program that created a stream of federal grants to state and local governments.
- DOJ can require reforms in the hundreds of police departments that receive federal funds by enforcing Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Title VI prohibits recipients of federal funds, including police departments, from discriminating based on race, color, or national origin.
- Encourage Attorney General Loretta Lynch to implement necessary reforms and the proper enforcement of Title VI before the next crisis in policing occurs.