Michele Norris, Peabody Award-winning journalist and founder of The Race Card Project, gave a talk in the Queally Center this Tuesday, November 12th, called “The Race Card: Observations on Race, Identity, and Inclusion.” Norris notes from the beginning of her talk that conversations, like this one about race, are not ones well-received nor do most people desire to engage in these kinds of conversations typically. Norris notes that, “a lot of things we don’t talk about, loom large in a room.” Even in her own life, Norris comments that although the effects of historical racism have effects that still loom over her family, race and racism is still something that is rarely discussed among them. Wanting to encourage this kind of discussion in a more natural and low-pressure way, Norris began The Race Card Project. This project collects cards where people across the country can write six word sentences regarding their experience with race.
Norris found that the cards that came in to her team were more honest than what she expected based on her previous experiences of discussions surrounding race. Some of these cards include “Black babies cost less to adopt,” and “Lady I don’t want your purse.” Norris showed various other cards, including some surprising ones such as, “I’m white and I pay the price.” I initially assumed Norris would condemn this card and whoever wrote it, but instead she stated that this was this man’s truth, and that is what The Race Card Project is about- listening to people’s truths. Norris ends the talk by challenging students, like us, to continue the conversation and engage in important discussions surrounding race.