Deconstructing Race

In January 2012 the W. K. Kellogg Foundation awarded The Calhoun School an initial grant of $250,000 for Deconstructing Race, a three-part youth-based project on issues of white privilege and institutionalized racism. The initial proposal was for a documentary film, curriculum and website. The Bertha Foundation, the Gilder Foundation and the Asian Women Giving Circle have since come on board with grants towards the project, and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation has also added to its original grant.

About the Deconstructing Race Project

Deconstructing Race is a youth-based project designed to transform the conversation about race, racism and white privilege in this country;expose the myth of color-blindness in a society that, for many, espouses a post-racial myth; undamentally alter the dialogue surrounding white privilege and structural and systemic racism for K-12th grade students, their parents and teachers.

"Young people of all colors have a critical role to play in challenging older generations to break the cycle of discrimination and exclusion if things are ever going to change," says Head of School Steve Nelson. "Racism is not exclusive to vulnerable children nor to those with privilege; it affects every child and family. The conversation must take place in every school and every home in order for change to begin."

James Baldwin said, "Not everything that is faced can be changed; but nothing can be changed until it is faced."

Feature Documentary: I'm Not Racist...Am I?

I'm Not Racist...Am I? is a feature documentary about how this next generation is going to confront racism. We asked 12 teenagers from New York City to come together for one school year to talk about race and privilege in a series of workshops and in conversations with friends and family members. Produced by Point Made Films in collaboration with The Calhoun School, the film was completed in the summer of 2014 and has since been screened at film festivals and museums as well as for students, parents, educators, corporations and government leaders across the country. (See the list of past and upcoming screenings)

Curriculum, K-12

Calhoun, in collaboration with senior professors and graduate students from Columbia University's Teachers College and the Columbia School of Social Work, are committed to developing a K-12 private and public school curriculum, with accompanying components tailored to meet the needs of parents to help them engage in productive conversations with their children as well as materials to support pre-service social work students and students of education. We are currently raising funds to support the development of these materials. Make a Donation.

Educational Video Series

Of the 12 titles proposed for the Educational Video Series, I Wish I Were Black is complete; the second — Asians Kids Don't Count — is currently in production. Once funding is secured, the complete series of videos will be produced to supplement the Deconstructing Race curriculum.

  • I Wish I Were Black: Cultural appropriation (completed)
  • Asians Kids Don't Count: Conversations about race from the Asian perspective (in production)

Proposed videos include:

  • What is Race, Anyway? Looking at the concept of race as a social construct
  • I've Got the Power? Lessons on white privilege
  • You're Pretty for a ___ Girl: Beauty standards and how racial hierarchy affects them
  • I'm Just Kidding! Looking at race and humor
  • Acceptable Terms: Discussion of "political correctness"; how to forge ahead in conversations about race when so many are confused about what they should or shouldn't say
  • Family Matters: Looking at how families have conversations about race and how students can talk about race productively with their family
For More Information

David Alpert
DR Project Director

Beth Krieger
Director of Communications/PR

Main Building 2nd - 12th Grades 433 West End Avenue New York, NY 10024 212.497.6500

Robert L. Beir Lower School Building 2.8 Years - 1st Grade 160 West 74th Street New York, NY 10023 212.497.6550

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