Whether we want to or not, we all live inside filter bubbles. Our experience of the world is limited by filters beyond our control. This happens online and in every aspect of our lives. Our physical locations, jobs, interpersonal networks, cultures, and much more not only give us our identities, they also can be limiting. We do, however, have choices about how we respond to those filters.
In his book, Some of My Best Friends Are Black, The Strange Story of Integration in America, author Tanner Colby explores the history of integration in the United States since the Civil Rights movement through the lens of his filter bubbles. One fourth of his book delves into Kansas City and Johnson County’s historical use of real estate practices: redlining, blockbusting, and racially restrictive covenants.
Colby visited Blue Valley North High School, Johnson County Community College, and Johnson County Library in the Fall of 2014 to discuss his book. Race Project KC emerged after this visit, as local educators and JoCoLibrary staff were inspired to extend his work into experiences for area teens.
Race Project KC aims to:
Build diverse student cohorts that represent schools from across the Kansas City region – urban, suburban, and rural.
Offer at least 3 workshops for at least 3 student cohorts.
Inform students of local & regional history so they understand how it relates to themselves, theirs schools, and their neighborhoods.
Offer students the opportunity to build up and demonstrate leadership skills through deliberative dialogue around identity, representation, inclusion, and storytelling.
Students encounter experts on the topics and build relationships with peers they might not otherwise meet. The library features educators, subject experts, authors, and community partners to provide these experiences. High Schools participate by attending monthly all-day workshops with partner schools. These workshops are followed each year by a culminating symposium including all schools.