E1 Episode One Context Matters: The Permanence of Racism
America to Me focuses on a year at Chicago’s Oak Park and River Forest High School (OPRFHS), widely considered to be a safe, well-integrated, academically strong school. In Episode 1, we meet some of its students of color and their families, who have sacrificed to live in this popular district. Their stories begin to reveal the racial cracks and realities of the permanence of racism.
Organizing a Group Discussion?
Be prepared! Before you start, read the Organizer Guide and the full Episode Guide, including resource links at the bottom.OPEN THE ORGANIZER GUIDE
How is OPRFHS successful at valuing all of its students’ racial and cultural identities, and where does it fall short?
What’s the difference between desegregation and integration? Which has OPRFHS done well and what’s the impact?
How is the racial divide reflected in students’ lives at school and at home?
These can be group or individual activities. Organizers - encourage participants to share their findings with the whole group.
Desegregation At Home (1 hour)
If you’re not familiar with it, review Brown vs. Board of Education, and research how your state / city / local community responded to it.
Places to look: Google your city’s name + Brown vs. Board of Education, or city name + school desegregation
Historical Timeline of Integration (1 day)
Create a historical timeline of racial integration of your school, institution or community. Is there more work that needs to be done? What can you do with this data?
Places to look: Your school’s admissions office, public records, libraries, Teaching Tolerance