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TeachIn2 Resources - Education

Lesson on Race for Middle School Youth

Religious Educator, Katie Covey has offered the Race Unit from the middle school program she developed. Katie writes, "The Lodestone curriculum for Middle School includes units on Money, Death, UU and Race. Here is the Race Unit, offered for free in support of our efforts at building an anti-racist society. I wrote the Race Unit to create opportunities for respectful and open-minded conversations for U.U. families and Middle Schoolers. As a white woman, I have been on a journey of understanding and humbly apply my curriculum philosophy of "fun and friendly with deep teachable moments" to the topic of race. It's not the final answer for sure, but I hope that it will open the doors for dialogue."

YouTube Channel Resource For Discussions with Youth

The Unitarian Universalist Association Youth Office has curated a list of YouTube videos that can be viewed and processed within the context of youth group. Take the time to preview the videos and use them as a starting point for conversation. 

Please be mindful that white youth, black youth and non-black POC youth will all have different reactions to these videos. Take the time to acknowledge and reflect on that reality. 

Recommended Reading for children and youth

Here is a working recommended reading list for children & youth. Obviously, there are many more books that can be added to this list. Meagan Henry curated this list for her congregation’s summer “common read” and is having follow up discussions for parents about talking with their children about race this fall. They also used many of these stories in RE classes at their spring TeachIn.  


Lower Elementary: Grades Preschool - 2

The Story of Ruby Bridges by Robert Coles

Unspoken: A Story from the Underground Railroad by Henry Cole

The Colors of Us by Karen Katz

I Like Myself by Karen Beaumont

Milo’s Museum by Zetta Elliott

Tea with Milk by Allen Say

Ron’s Big Mission by Rose Blue (Katie)


Middle/Lower Elementary: Grades 2-4

Ruth and the Green Book by Calvin Alexander Ramsey

The Story of Ruby Bridges by Robert Coles

White Socks Only by Evelyn Coleman

Tea with Milk by Allen Say

The Favorite Daughter by Allen Say

Ron’s Big Mission by Rose Blue (Katie)


Middle/Upper Elementary: Grades 3-5

Pink and Say by Patricia Polacco

Only Passing Through: The Story of Sojourner Truth by Anne Rockwell


Upper Elementary: Grades 4,5,6

The Watsons Go To Birmingham — 1963 by Christopher Paul Curtis

The Misadventures of the Family Fletcher by Dana Alison Levy

Only Passing Through: The Story of Sojourner Truth by Anne Rockwell

Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli

Bud, Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis


Middle School: Grades 6-8

Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson

Kindred: A Graphic Novel Adaptation by Octavia Butler

Amina’s Voice by Hena Khan

They Called Themselves the K.K.K.: The Birth of an America Terrorist Group by Susan Campbell Bartoletti

March by John Lewis (graphic novel trilogy)

High School: Grades 9-12

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson

Kindred: A Graphic Novel Adaptation by Octavia Butler

They Called Themselves the K.K.K.: The Birth of an America Terrorist Group by Susan Campbell Bartoletti

Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Under Our Skin Discussion Guide


The Seattle Times created a video series that asked questions about racism, privilege and other topics. The series features people of diverse identities. Congregations are invited to watch the videos one at a time and reflect on the questions in this guide. The videos are appropriate for a multigenerational group of youth and adults.

This series is recommended after a group has an understanding that racism is power+prejudice and the 4 I’s (institutional, internalized, ideological, interpersonal).


Facilitators should watch all the videos first and take relevant notes.


First, watch the the “Meet The Participants” section.


Institutional Racism

Learn More

New Jim Crow Fact Sheet

The black hole in the white UU psyche

Slavery to Mass Incarceration

What Is Systemic Racism?

Discussion Questions

  1. What surprised you about the responses?

  2. In what ways do you see institutional racism play out in your communities?

  3. Which of our principles call us to challenge and disrupt institutional racism?


Person of Color

Learn More

Origin of the term Women of Color

Journey from ‘Colored’ to ‘Minorities’ to ‘People of Color’

Unitarian Universalists of Color: Stories of Struggle, Courage, Love, and Faith


A Conversation About Growing Up Black

A Conversation With Latinos on Race

A Conversation With Asians on Race

A Conversation with Black Women on Race

A Conversation With White People on Race


Discussion Questions

  1. What did you find most interesting about the responses?

  2. Jerrell Davis says “the term minority is so contextually based, because on Earth there are way more people of color than white people. Like 80% of people on Earth are people of color.” How does using the term minority perpetuate white supremacy?

  3. In what other ways can language perpetuate white supremacy?


Note: When Michael Dixon says that “African-American” is a political term, it’s important to note that when folks typically use the term African-American, they are speaking of black folks and not including white African-Americans.



Learn More

How to Tell Someone They Sound Racist

5 Comebacks For Your Racist Relative During The Holidays

Is Racism Over Yet? (Laci Green is alt-right now, so don’t follow her on Twitter)

#NotRacists Be Like: The Top 10 Phrases Used By People Who Claim They Are Not Racist (Language Warning)


Discussion Questions

  1. The respondents mention at the beginning of the video that being called a racist is one of the worst things you can call someone, is that true according to your experience?

  2. Mark Olsen said, “You can say something that is racist, doesn’t mean you are racist. If I say something that is racist, but I don’t mean to say it….doesn’t make me racist, it makes me ignorant.” Many times, when we make covenants we include the phrase “Intent vs. Impact” and we typically mean that we must own the impact of our words and actions. How do you own the impact of your actions in the world?

  3. Darrell Hilaire said, “What’s missing from ignorance is empathy.” Earlier in the video, Mark Olsen makes a comment about how we value emotions and feelings over facts. How do our UU values call us to honor the emotions and feelings, to empathize with, marginalized peoples? What does that look like in action?



Learn More

So You Call Yourself an Ally: 10 Things All ‘Allies’ Need to Know

White Privilege

White Privilege 2

5 Tips For Being An Ally

Getting Called Out: How To Apologize

Discussion Questions

  1. What does being an ally mean to you? What does it mean to you as a Unitarian Universalist?

  2. When have you spoken up for or supported marginalized people?

  3. When and how have you strived to be an ally to marginalized folks?



Learn More

What kind of Asian are you?

Racial Microaggressions: Comments That Sting

The Internal Response to Racial Slights

How Microaggressions Are Like Mosquito Bites

If Microaggressions Happened to White People

Discussion Questions

  1. How do our principles call us to be together in community and honor other people’s experiences?

  2. How does impact vs. intent affect this conversation?

  3. How might other identities intersect with race and affect the way you perceive microaggressions?


All Lives Matter

Learn More

Support the Black Lives Matter Movement

Black Lives Matter and Building a Movement for Racial Justice

Do Black Lives Matter or do All Lives Matter?

4 Black Lives Matter Myths Debunked

Discussion Questions

  1. Until 1984, our 1st Principle read “We affirm and promote the inherent worth and dignity of all men.” How are you called to affirm and promote the inherent worth and dignity of every person, especially marginalized people?

  2. How do you feel about the statement “When you say Black Lives Matter, you are saying all lives matter.”?


Politically Correct

Learn More

7 Principles of Unitarian Universalism


Discussion Questions

  1. Critics says that political correctness limits free speech. How does political correctness intersect with our principles?

  2. At the end, Louis Chude-Sokei says that people who are upset at political correctness are upset because they don’t like be held responsible (checked) for their words and actions. What is our responsibility to hold folks responsible for their behavior?



Learn More

Color blind or color brave?

The Costs of Racial Color Blindness
Why Colorblindness will not end racism

Why Colorblindness Is Toxic

I Don’t See Race


Discussion Questions

  1. How do you celebrate the beauty in diversity?

  2. Lucas Nydam lifts up that even if an individual doesn’t “see race”, our institutions see race and perpetuate white supremacy. Watch the “Why Colorblindness will not end racism” video by Franchesca Leigh of MTV’s Decoded. How do conversations about being colorblind distract from discussing racism and white supremacy?


Safe Space

Learn More

Learning Zone: Donut

Caucus or Affinity Groups

Discussion Questions:

  1. Where have you felt safe to have difficult conversations with your peers?

  2. How does covenant help you create safe spaces?

  3. Jerrell Davis talks about learning from discomfort. When was a time you learned and grew from a place of discomfort?

  4. How do you build mutual respect into your relationships?



Learn More

Practical Diversity: taking inclusion from theory to practice

Teens talk about diversity

Discussion Questions

  1. How does diversity strengthen our communities?

  2. How does your UU faith call you to inclusivity?


White Privilege

Learn More

White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack

What is Privilege?

Don’t Cash Crop On My Cornrows

What Would You Do? Bike Theft


Discussion Questions

  1. Where and how do you see white privilege happening in your community?

  2. How can people with privilege work to dismantle systems of oppression?


White Fragility

Learn More

White Fragility

White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard to Talk to White People About Racism

Spiritual Practices for White Discomfort


Discussion Questions

  1. How does Unitarian Universalism ask us to be brave in creating a justice-filled world?

  2. What are spiritual practices that you can do dismantle white supremacy?

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