Framing Issues with a Racial Equity Lens
Contributor: Terry Keleher, The Applied Research Center (ARC)
The purpose of Framing Issues with a Racial Equity Lens module is:
- To understand the power of ‘framing’
- To learn how ‘re-framing’ is an important tool for building effective strategies for racial equity and change
- To explore how media coverage and public discourse can be shifted to impact outcomes
Belief systems, which inform policy and law, can contribute to and perpetuate injustice. This injustice rests on subconscious and conscious beliefs about who matters in society and who does not. In order to make right what is inherently wrong, collective action is required. This learning module is based on the work of the Applied Research Center, a thirty-year-old racial justice think tank that uses media, research, and activism to promote solutions. This module provides examples of how injustice is perpetuated through the media and court systems. By working with art, film clips, and other activities, participants will learn the importance of framing an issue with a racial equity lens and be able to practice it.
Target Audience: Framing Issues with a Racial Equity Lens module is geared toward an audience that already has a basic understanding of equity issues. It is appropriate for educational institutions— professors, teachers, and high school/college students--as well as those who work in the arenas of non-profit, faith-based organizations, government, and also community organizers and activists.
The module is broken into sections that are ideally implemented in order, with the get to know you exercise first, the main lesson plan in the middle, then artistic production or case studies, and ending with a closing reflection. You may wish to utilize the PowerPoint presentation of this module. It is available in each section.
Section 1: Half Lies/Half Truths
This community-building exercise asks participants to respond to a short story in an effort to articulate how leaving out significant details of a story creates misunderstanding (as in this case) and, oftentimes, injustice.
Section 2: Historical and Political Framing Through Art
In this section, art is used to fill in the gaps of historical perceptions that are commonly accepted as the whole story. Artist Kerry James Marshall uses his art to sway social understanding, thus moving the narrative toward social justice.
Section 3: Framing an Issue with a Racial Equity Lens
The video Talking the Walk: Media and Race Campaign to Free Moreno and Pacheco presents a compelling news story which names race as the overarching issue of systemic injustice.
Section 4: Re-framing the Written and Unwritten Rules of History, Policy, and Law
Learn and understand why frames are important vehicles to counteract negative messages and to engage in re-framing an issue through a racial equity lens.
Section 5: Closing: Sculpting Theatre Exercise
Acting out the building blocks of characters, emotions, values, and actions often help people see and feel stories with their bodies, which is a useful way into constructing a more complete and analytical frame.
Section 6: Action Steps & Resources
The Applied Research Center (ARC) is a racial justice think tank and home for media and activism. ARC is built on rigorous research and creative use of new technology. Our goal is to popularize the need for racial justice and prepare people to fight for it. By telling the stories of everyday people, ARC is a voice for unity and fairness in the structures that affect our lives.