NPR's Michele Norris visits University of Michigan and asks students to submit '6-word truths' on race
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If someone asked you to summarize your thoughts on race in six words, what would you say?
Norris walked through the Michigan Union and the Diag approaching students and encouraging them to submit a six-word statement on race. The statement is part of Norris' race card project, which she is bringing to U-M this semester.
Kellie Woodhouse | AnnArbor.com
Norris, who spoke at U-M during a Martin Luther King Jr. symposium last year, was invited by the college to bring her race card project to Ann Arbor. The project is one of many events occurring this semester under U-M's "understanding race" theme.
"It grew out of a family memoir I wrote. It was my way to try to ease conversations about race," Norris said of the race card project.
"The university approached me because they were doing this campus-wide examination of race in an attempt to help people understand each other better. I thought it was a perfect partnership because that's what I try to do with the race card project: allow people to learn what life is like as lived by someone else," Norris continued, calling the statements "six-word truths as to what life is like."
Norris met U-M President Mary Sue Coleman and other administrators this morning and discussed the project. The administrators crafted their own six-word truths on race.
Sterling Christopher Sherman, a senior informatics major, was approached by Norris on the Diag. On his card, he wrote: "Not a biological construct. Social construct."
Sherman said the project raises awareness about issues of race.
"We should really be looking at people, more than just skin color," he said. "I think this project is really something that is trying to push that positive effort forward."
Norris plans to return to Ann Arbor on April 18 for a town hall-style discussion on race. On that day, the completed race cards will be collected and displayed on the Diag.
A sampling of race card entries from Ann Arbor:
- Stereotypes shape expectations, destroys self-image
- I am not my hair #India.Arie
- Double consciousness hinders minority progression worldwide
- Race/Ethnicity does not equal Nationality
- Race means acceptance of our differences
- Better than before, but not good
- We are all a little racist
- Everywhere, yet not even skin deep