Work and Life with Stew Friedman
Ep 178. Howard Stevenson: Racial Literacy
Dr. Howard Stevenson is the Constance Clayton Professor of Urban Education, Professor of Africana Studies, in the Human Development & Quantitative Methods Division of the Graduate School of Education at the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Stevenson is Executive Director of the Racial Empowerment Collaborative (REC) at Penn, a research, program development, and training center that brings together community leaders, researchers, authority figures, families, and youth to study and promote racial literacy and health in schools and neighborhoods. He is also the Director of Forward Promise, a national program office funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. It provides philanthropic support for organizations designed to improve the health of boys and young men of color and their families, and to help them heal from the trauma of historical and present-day dehumanization, discrimination, and colonization. Since 1985, Dr. Stevenson has served as a clinical and consulting psychologist working in impoverished rural and urban neighborhoods across the country.
In this episode, Stew and Howard discuss the subtle, sometimes unintended or even unconscious ways by which we communicate about race, especially to our children. Howard draws on his personal history and his experience as a clinical psychologist, educator, and negotiator, in vividly describing his method of teaching racial literacy -- a systematic approach that helps people learn how to read, recast, and resolve racially tinged episodes. He also demonstrates key elements of his method with Stew as his subject, which takes our host back 58 years to an incident in his fifth grade class in a Brooklyn public school.
Here then is an invitation, a challenge, for you, once you’ve listened to the conversation. Reach back into your history and recount a story in which you experienced a racial conflict, however subtle, using the tools Howard used in working with Stew in this episode to help you make sense of what happened with the benefit of hindsight. What do you discover that you can apply now and in the future? Write to Stew to let him know, at firstname.lastname@example.org, or connect with him on LinkedIn. While you’re at it, share your thoughts with him on this episode and your ideas for people you’d like to hear on future shows.