This discussion guide is designed to get you and your colleagues learning and talking about racism and the Black British experience. This guide forms part of a weekly discussion group series that we created for the UK’s Black History Month, which runs throughout October. If you found this guide useful or would like to share some feedback, get in touch with us here.
Here’s what you’ll need:
Time: 1 hour (plus an additional 55 mins to watch the resource)
Resources: Key resource, discussion questions, anything you usually need for any remote joiners
This guided discussion will:
⚡ Dig into the issues that link race and class in the UK
⚡ Shine a light on how we talk about issues in communities that are systemically disadvantaged
⚡ Ask everyone to think about how the British government serves its diverse demographic
Key resource: Ways to Change the World interview with George the Poet and Krishnan Guru Murthy (55 mins)
🔗 Link: https://youtu.be/pKwpjsWN80w
One week before
✅ Send out an email and calendar invitation including the link and discussion questions.
One day before
✅ Send a reminder to everyone to watch the key resource before the session. Note down some of your own thoughts which you can share to prompt others to do the same
On the day
- Welcome everyone and introduce the key resource and discussion topic, which is George the Poet’s Ways to Change the World interview with Krishnan Guru-Murthy. (3 mins)
✋ Before you begin, remind everyone that we are all learning and to respect each other’s comfort. No one should be expected to know the right answer, dig up personal examples or speak for any group they’re part of. Encourage the group to bear in mind that everyone is at different starting points in this topic, too.
- Ask everyone for their initial thoughts from watching the video. What resonated with them most? (5 mins)
- Work through the discussion questions. Be mindful of the time and nudge the conversation on to the next topic when someone stops speaking. If people need more encouragement to speak, start by sharing your thoughts. (50 mins)
💡 George the Poet confirms that his parents are hard-working immigrants and goes on to say, “like most immigrants I know”. Why do you think he doubled down on this part?💡 Can you think of examples where you’ve heard people being blamed as “self-destructive” or “the problem” without acknowledgement of how they belong to a community that is systemically disadvantaged? Is it right to put all of the responsibility on individuals?💡 Did George the Poet’s explanation of why he uses the phrases “white people government” and “white middle-class mass media” make sense to you? Do you agree with a) the use of those phrases and b) the reasoning behind them?💡 George the Poet talks about how the mass media needs to cater to the majority viewership who are white in the UK. How might it feel to have limited representation when you are “100% Black”?
💡 What do you think about the suggestion that the work needed to be done to help underserved communities needs to be done “in-house”? Does anyone agree or disagree with this?
- Wrap up by thanking everyone for attending and for their input. Let everyone know that they are welcome to continue the conversation in your company’s social channels and to share feedback on the discussion with you. (3 mins)
✅ Send a follow-up email to thank participants and to re-share the resource and questions with anyone who couldn’t attend.
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