Brave Conversations: A Guide for Inclusive Anti-Racism Dialogue
This guide is aimed at empowering readers with the knowledge, insights, and tools to engage in dialogue on racism. Developed with the South African context in mind, this toolkit brings together the collective wisdom of IJR dialogue participants, dialogue facilitators and IJR colleagues who create and hold space for empowering conversations and healing. This publication aims to inspire critical conversation around racism within a post-Apartheid South African context.
The Institute for Justice and Reconciliation (IJR) was launched in the year 2000, in the wake of South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission. The aim was to ensure that the lessons learnt from South Africa’s transition from apartheid to democracy were taken into account as the nation moved ahead. Today, the institute helps to build fair, inclusive and democratic societies through carefully selected engagements and interventions.
The Anti-Racism Project (ARP) of the IJR, launched in 2018 strives to challenge the systemic, institutional and identity manifestations of racism in South Africa, through research, community engagements and ongoing dialogues. This journey is coupled with the use of communication strategies and tactics to ensure that the in-depth work of the project reaches wider audiences, and broadly unpacks the complex nature of racism.
IJR, through its community healing dialogues, has held space for difficult conversations for many years. Drawing on this experience, it explored the process of facilitating anti-racism dialogues as a way to surface the intersectionality of race, class, gender, ethnicities, histories and religion. These dialogues offered a safer space for unpacking the complex and often painful manifestations and lived experiences of racism in South African communities.
Alongside various communities of interest, the project explored the lived reality of race and racism in South African communities. This culminated in a series of dialogues where experiences of race were explored and unpacked.
This toolkit is a resource for those committed to combating racism and offers guidance on how to hold space for dialogue race and racism. Whether you are a facilitator or reading for interest, we hope that this resource is a contribution to ongoing conversations around how we understand racism, how it manifests in society and what the effects are. Furthermore, this resource serves as a learning tool and guide on how to conduct brave conversations about racism and racial injustice. This resource intends to contribute to shifting narratives, to encourage deeper reflection and to transform attitudes for the creation of new ways of seeing one another and new ways of being.
How to use this guide?
This guide is meant to support persons who are committed to combatting racism, by offering guidance on how to hold space for informal and formal dialogues and for suggesting further reflection on anti-racism. This guide can be used to reflect on the necessary personal work we all need to do to better to combat racism in our spheres of influence. It offers practical tools for effective listening and for taking action to confront racism and proposes dialogue as a process for creating spaces for conversation toward deepening understanding and strengthening relationships across difference.