Race Dialogues

12 3Arts supporters
$610 raised of $3,500 goal
24 Days 10:40:51 LEFT
This project will only be funded if $3,500 is contributed to 3Arts by April 15, 2019, 11:59PM
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    • 17% contributed
    • 83% to go

In a Nutshell

Race Dialogues is a project I’ve been developing over the last two years by using innovative gameplay to facilitate a conversation centered around the construction of Blackness. As a Black woman in America, I feel this dialogue present at every level of daily life via the media, personal interactions, and political discourse. The Race Dialogues are designed to be an invitation for people to engage in a larger discussion about race and ethnicity. Intersecting humor and gamification, participant’s notions about Blackness are challenged through facilitated conversations in which they are charged to “out-Black” their opponent utilizing a deck of “Trading Races” game cards that I developed. Since their inception, these cards have helped to fuel transformative experiences that have given players a safe space to critically examine how they construct Blackness and its malleability. With the community's support through this campaign, I will produce a three-part immersive series of Race Dialogues focusing on the following themes: the racial divide in Chicago, race in the public education system, and one’s personal understanding of race.


The Full Story...

This project is cathartic for me because in the simplest terms it helps me answer the question… who am I? For some, this question is straight forward. But for me, it involves my view of myself and how I’m seen within and outside of the Black community.

As a child I grew up in predominantly white communities until moving to Chicago in my high school years. The pervasive question of “where are you from?” existed in both spaces, leaving me with a sense of otherness no matter where I stood. I was too Black here and not Black enough there. I felt there was a hierarchy of Blackness that no one could verbalize. I always wanted to explore these notions and expose what felt like a neglect to examine them within and outside of the Black community.

In a society in which one can “have their Black card revoked,” I knew the need for this conversation was essential and provocative. I wanted to create a space to unearth a conversation about Blackness that engages the participant without judgement or fear; a space that allows people to begin to question their construction of Blackness and its fluidity.  

By utilizing participatory art and gameplay, Race Dialogues creates this space for debate and conversation. Whether consciously or subconsciously, we are constantly redefining the notion of Blackness. I believe dialogue is a powerful tool for gaining understanding and building empathy around this fluid issue. Race Dialogues is a project that is urgently needed in our current social ecosystems where the narrative around Blackess is being hotly debated without active participation or critical thought.

Funds from this campaign will enable the Race Dialogues to evolve into this next stage. With your support, I plan to organize three events that will examine language, identity (perceptions), and society's expectations involving race and identity. A project of this size and intention requires resources for space rental, food, administration, publicity/marketing, production, and compensating the facilitators. Having these funds will enable us to do our best work. My hope is that the Race Dialogues will extend its reach and empower more individuals and communities to engage in complex conversations about race.

Race Dialogues 3-part Series:

  1. Gaming the System - Engaging high school students of the City of Chicago and their teachers in discussion and gameplay with the goal of dialogue that encourages educators and students to explore notions of Blackness through conscious and unconscious thinking. 
  2. My Kind of Town: Chicago - Curated Game night with the focus of diving deeply into complex conversations around race and politics central to the City of Chicago. A special expansion pack of "Trading Races" will be created featuring individuals from Chicago. 
  3. I Am Not Your Negro - Game night, conversation, and interactive experience in which participants will have a card of themselves created by the illustrator of "Trading Races." Cards will be drawn and printed on site. Participants will then define their Blackness and also have the opportunity for others to define it as well. (Limited to 20-25 participants).

Thank yous

Contribute any amount or choose from the levels below.

  • $25 - Digital thank you: a permanent feature of your name on our website.
    ($25.00 is tax deductible.)
  • $50 - Above + Deck of "Trading Races" Game - playing card game in which participants attempt to “out-Black” their opponent.
    ($25.00 is tax deductible.)
  • $75 - Above + 1 expansion pack of your choice - Pack of themed cards to add to the original "Trading Races" game.
    ($37.00 is tax deductible.)
  • $100 - Above + 2 expansion packs - Both packs of themed cards to add to the original "Trading Races" game.
    ($50.00 is tax deductible.)
  • $150 - Above + Traveling tote bag from "Trading Races."
    ($75.00 is tax deductible.)
  • $250 - Above + Invitation to "I Am Not Your Negro" game night and custom "Trading Races" card of yourself or a person of your choice (limited to 20).
    ($100.00 is tax deductible.)
Kenyatta Forbes image
Kenyatta Forbes is a multi-disciplinary artist who uses her own experiences as a Black woman to open a dialogue about the construction of "blackness." Using humor, gamification, and her experience ...
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    • Thank you to the following for contributing to 3Arts with the recommendation that we support this project.

    • Melissa Fox

    • Ruth Ann Harnisch

    • jennifer reeder

    • William Estrada

    • Anonymous Supporter

    • Jasmine Gardunio

    • Tonika Johnson

    • Bradley Murray

    • Bradley Murray

    • Brighid O'Shaughnessy

    • Tatiana Gant

    • Juliet Dervin

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3AP is funded in part by grants from:

The Field Foundation  Illinois Arts Council