World Trust

Responding to a Racist Incident

Posted by World Trust Team on December 21, 2018



What do you do when there’s just been a negative racial incident in your organization, or on your campus? It can be a time of confusion and soul-searching. It can also be a catalyst for change.

When your community has just been shaken by a racist incident, it’s easy to get caught up in focusing on the specific details of the episode, or the individuals involved.

But this is a moment when there may be greater will to to progress toward equity for all. The solutions below take the focus off of the individuals involved, placing it instead on systemic inequity and its perpetuation of the conditions that can manifest in incidents like you have experienced. Common understanding of this bigger picture lays the groundwork for a staff team, a campus, or a community to work together to address the structural causes of racist incidents.


Use film to support productive dialogue and learning about race
Conversation guides that come with each World Trust documentary film enable you to offer a two hour film and dialogue session that will create a healing and learning experience for large groups. Our films feature a critical mass of stories, in order to offer participants multiple entry points to understanding systemic inequity and their own biases – the better to challenge embedded assumptions. A World Trust film and dialogue session can help engage a broad audience in the issue at hand, and is ideal for those yearning for change yet wary of participating in dialogue about race.

Offer a facilitator-led racial equity workshop
Racial equity training has the power to shift focus, underscoring that the incident is the symptom of a system. Through dialogue and community building, more people can be engaged in changing the atmosphere on campus or in your workplace. With relationships across racial divides, people are empowered to work together to address the structural and cultural elements that invited the incident.

Review a case study.
In the wake of a racist incident, the executive director of a university’s multicultural center used the heightened attention to racial inequity as a catalyst to engage faculty and staff in the sort of diversity training she had long hoped to offer.

World Trust is a trusted resource, engaging 30,000 people in racial equity and diversity learning each year through continual use of our films, and through live events in education, healthcare, government, social services, nonprofit and philanthropic institutions.

Topics: Responding to a Racist Incident, Racial Equity Learning, #WorldTrust, Racism, bias, systemic inequity, trauma, racial justice