Build your vocabulary, challenge yourself through activities,

and engage in meaningful conversations with those around you.



card design


what's included


  • 2 instruction cards with information about how to use this deck.
  • 30 language cards, intended to establish a common vocabulary for talking about race and issues related to race.
  • 10 challenge cards, with a different activity on each one. These challenges are meant to provide straightforward ways to expand your horizons by engaging with those different than you.
  • 11 let's talk cards, with a unique question prompt on each card. You can use these to have discussions with friends, family members, or trusted community members like a pastor, athletic coach, or after-school leader. 




Bonus information + questions


Each language card has more information and some additional questions to inspire deeper thinking about each topic.

  • Privilege
    • Some common examples of privilege include being surrounded by, having positions of authority populated by, and having conversations focused on people who look like and identify the same way as you. If someone has racial privilege, it doesn't mean their life hasn't been difficult. They can still have personal, medical, economic, and social difficulties. Having racial privilege just means a person's race isn't one of their major obstacles.

      Further questions to consider: What kinds of privilege exist in addition to racial privilege?

  • Microaggressions
    • Microaggressions are difficult to pinpoint because they are so commonplace. Discrimination refers to blatant acts of bigotry used to intimidate people, but microaggressions are the constant, little things that push members of underrepresented groups away. Someone who has experienced a microaggression might feel badly about a situation but is not sure why. On the other side, the persosn who caused the microaggression might not be aware that anything they said was hurtful.

      Further questions to consider: What are the effects of microaggressions? How can you counter them?

  • Bias
    • While it can be easy to identify common biases, it's harder to identify our own. Most people don't want to admit their prejudices or don't know the ones they have. Discovering them takes the time, honesty, and courage.

      Further questions to consider: What are some biases you've seen people have? What might be some biases you have?

  • Diversity
    • People normally think of diversity as something schools or organizations have, but an individual can also be diverse, because people are not confined to a single identity.

      Further questions to consider: What are some other examples of diversity? How can you diversify your experience?

  • Equity
    • One of the key differences between equality and equity is that equality tries to achieve fairness by treating everyone the same regardless of their social position, but equity actually achieves fairness by making adjustments based on social position. A famous graphic shows three people trying to look over a fence. One is tall enough to see just by standing. Another is only tall enough to see the middle of the fence. A third is short and can only see the bottom half of the fence. Imagine you had three crates to help these people see over the fence. Equality would give all three people the same size box to stand on, but this strategy would be ineffective. Giving one crate to the tall person would be a waste and make them stand too high over the fence. Giving one crate to the middle person would make them tall enough to peer over. Giving one crate to the third person wouldn't work because they would be just tall enough to see the top of the fence. Equity, however, would use the three crates more effectively. It would give no crates to the tall person who can already see over the fence, one crate to the middle person who only needs one crate to see over the fence, and two crates to third person.

      Further questions to consider: Given the above example, how does equity differ from equality? What are some examples of racial equity in the real world? What can equity accomplish that equality cannot? How does equity benefit everyone?

  • Inclusion
    • Diversity can strive to add underrepresented people to a group, but it can ignore those people once they are part of that group. Equity can ensure everyone has a fair chance to join a group, but that doesn't mean those people can move up and out of low-level positions. Inclusion gives marginalized people power to change how the group is run. It also makes sure that everyone feels recognized, appreciated, and welcome for the identities, experiences, and perspectives that make them different.

      Further questions to consider: How does inclusion differ from equity? What are some things schools or organizations can do to be more inclusive? What are the benefits of inclusion?

  • Colorblindism
    • Some people think the way to overcome racial inequality is to ignore racial difference. This thinking assumes that the way to fairness is treating everyone the same, but a truer form of fairness comes from treating everyone fairly while appreciating what makes them different. True justice requires your ability to treat people fairly even if they aren't the same as you.

      Further questions to consider: How does colorblindism ignore the experiences of people of color? How do you think it would make a person of color feel if you told them you don't see the color of their skin? When a person professes their supposed colorblindism, does that act do anything to help people of color gain equal access to food, shelter, education, employment, rights, protection, healthcare, and opportunity? What are some better approaches to antiracism than ignoring race?

  • Multiculturalism
    • Multiculturalism is valuable because it shines a light on groups of people that are usually ignored. Although applauding the accomplishments of marginalized groups is important, people also need to examine the injustices that made those accomplishments harder than they should have been. For example, celebrating the contributions of African Americans is an important step of multicultural education, but it also requires an antiracist examination of slavery, segregation, and structural racism to improve the lives of Black people.

      Further questions to consider: What are the limitations of multiculturalism? How does multiculturalism fight bigotry? What is needed in addition to multiculturalism to fight racism?
  • Bigotry
    • When people refer to a certain statement, action, or person being "racist," they usually mean a phrase, deed, or individual is displaying bigotry. Bigotry includes the small, individual, and often internal things a person or small group of people do. It includes names, jokes, and beliefs. Focusing on bigotry can lead to scapegoating, or blaming, an individual for a small action while letting the rest of the entire system off the hook for structural inequalities. For example, society often has more outrage against an individual celebrity for posting something racially insensitive on social media than for the fact that predominantly white public schools in the U.S. receive $23 billion more in taxpayer assistance than predominantly Black schools. In this example, focus on the bigotry of an individual statement takes attention away from larger social realities.

      Further questions to consider: How does bigotry differ from racism? Why do so many people focus on individual bigotry more than structural racism (inequalities in education, employment, income, healthcare, food, legal protection, political power, and cultural representation)? What are some examples of things people think are examples of "being racist" that are actually examples of bigotry?

  • Racism
    • While bigotry focuses on individual statements, actions, or people that perpetuate racial injustice, racism addresses the social structures, institutions, and practices that create racial inequalities in big things like education, employment, income, healthcare, food access, legal protection, political power, and cultural representation. For example, bigotry would refer to a video of a worker using racial slurs, while racism would refer to the ways the company that employee works for has denied fair jobs, pay, and promotions to thousands of people of color for decades. Any individual can practice bigotry, but only social systems can preserve racism. Bigotry can be more provocative because it often involves specific actions that can appear in a five-second clip, but racism can be overlooked because it happens across hundreds of years, millions of people, and innumerable instances.

      Further questions to consider: What are some of the educational, employment, income, healthcare, food access, legal protection, political power, and cultural representation advantages that society denies people of color? What are some other ways that structural racism differs from individual bigotry?

  • Antiracism
    • When learning about racism, many respond by saying they are "not racist." The problem is that "not racism" preserves the injustices that already exist and doesn't do anything to improve the lives of people who suffer racism. When someone says they are "not racist," they usually mean that they think not using racial slurs, not bullying people of color, and not burning crosses on people's front lawns combats white supremacy when all these things do is fulfill the baseline for basic human decency. Antiracism refers to going beyond not doing bad to actually do good. Instead of simply avoiding bigoted actions, the antiracist works to improve social conditions for people of color like equitable access to education, employment, income, healthcare, food, legal protection, political power, and cultural representation.

      Further questions to consider: How does antiracism differ from colorblindism, multiculturalism, and kindness? (If necessary, see the cards on colorblindism and multiculturalism in this pack.) What are some small, short-term things you can do to practice antiracism? What are larger, long-term ways to practice antiracism?

  • Eurocentricity
    • History curricula and textbooks in the U.S. often present a singular narrative, or story, about how we got to be where we are today. This Eurocentric view of history makes it seem as though Europeans/western civilizations were the creators of history while history simply happened to people of other civilizations in the Americas, Asia, Africa, Eastern Europe, Oceania, and so on. It also serves to downplay, and in some cases eliminate completely, the contributions to our modern world from people not of European descent.

      Further questions to consider: Besides education programs, what are some other examples of Euro centricity in U.S. society? What have you missed out on because of Euro centricity?

  • Segregation
    • Where you're born often determines where you live, which dictates where you go to school, which creates differing levels of opportunity when it comes to college, jobs, and wealth. Many of the formal, obvious, and legally-protected methods of segregation have been eliminated, but there are some ways society keeps segregating groups.

      Further questions to consider: Because segregation has kept people of color from living in certain places, how has that practice changed their lives? How is your life been affected based on where you live? How would your life be different if you lived somewhere else? Even if all segregation ended tomorrow, what would be the lingering impact of the segregation for years to come?

  • Unconscious bias
    • The tricky thing about unconscious bias is trying to make it conscious. One way is a kind of reverse-hack of your brain. To do this, start by considering the antiracist proposals that make you angry, uncomfortable, or nervous. They can be things you think are great ideas but impractical, ridiculous, or overly idealistic. The point is to identify the proposals for racial justice that make you feel defensive. Regardless of how reasonable or righteous those defenses may seem, assume you have them for selfish reasons. People usually reject proposals for improvement when they have a self-serving purpose to keep things the way they are.

      Further questions to consider: With this idea in mind, when you feel defensiveness, what unconscious biases are you trying to defend? What status quo, worldview, privileges, comforts, or lifestyles do you want to hold on to? Why?

  • Confirmation bias
    • Many assume Black people are criminals. With this bias, they end up finding all kinds of evidence that proves their assumption and overlook evidence that contradicts it. Regardless of what data may or may not exist in the real world, confirmation bias would make them recognize pieces of information that proves them right and fail to see others. In a single 30-minute segment of news reporting, there could be five stories about crime, with one being about a Black person and four being about white people. If a viewer already assumes Black people are criminals, confirmation bias would make that viewer only focus on the Black person, confirming what they believe to be true: the Black people are criminals. In this example, confirmation bias doesn't create data out of thin air. It can be rooted in fact, but it does twist a person's perception so they only find the facts that prove their assumptions, and disregard the other information.

      Further questions to consider: Why don't people find more evidence that proves their assumptions wrong? What can you do to encounter more information that challenges your assumptions? What else can you do to practice getting over confirmation bias?

  • Status quo bias
    • Many biases are rooted in terrible injustices, but they are also rooted in familiarity. In some ways, the human brain is hard-wired to prefer what it knows and fear what it doesn't. Challenging the current way of doing things can seem difficult, impractical, and scary. Racial inequality, for example, involves persecution, selfishness, and economic exploitation, but it also continues because even good people who want to fight racism can be afraid of creating new and more just ways of doing things.

      Further questions to consider: What are some ways you see people in positions of power upholding an element of the status quo?
  • Similarity bias
    • To cut corners, your brain assumes it is the best, your society is the best, and people most like you are the best. It prefers similarity and fears difference.

      Further questions to consider: How can you retrain your brain to associate difference with pleasant feelings? How can you practice overcoming similarity bias? How much time do you spend with people who aren't like you?

  • Race
    • Social institutions have taught Americans that race is a biological category. With this education, many talk about racial groups as if they were different species of animals. They also assume a person's race determines their skin color, family history, and social position. This inaccurate view leads many to assume they can tell a person's diet, music preferences, politics, intelligence, athletic ability, and likelihood to commit crime all based on skin color. Of course, there are many examples where people have certain ancestries, physical appearances, or social experiences other than the racial group to which they belong. Also, history is full of examples where people from different racial groups have been living together, intermarrying, and having children in ways that blur racial lines. "Race" is not a scientific category. It is something constructed by politics, economics, art, literature, law, education, anthropology, psychology, and religion. Instead of being a universal, eternal, and objective category, its definitions change in different places at different times for different purposes.

      Further questions to consider: What are examples of different "races"? What is the difference between "race" and ethnicity? (If necessary, look at the "ethnicity" card included in this pack.) What are some of the events and organizations that led to people assume these groups were biologically different "races"?

  • Ethnicity
    • Ethnicity is a more accurate grouping than race. It refers to social, political, and cultural factors that construct groups rather than the supposedly scientific, essential, and spiritual differences that racial groupings suggest. Besides being more factual, ethnicity is a better focus because it is more specific. Each "racial" group has numerous ethnicities within it. In the U.S., people talk about the "white race," but that group is made up of many ethnicities like English, French, and German people. At different points in American history, ethnicities that are now considered white were not. For a time, Italian and Irish people couldn't enjoy the privileges reserved for "white" people. They were discriminated against, denied jobs, and excluded from certain social institutions. Over time, and because they had a whiter skin color than other immigrant groups, they could change some behaviors until they were classified as white. Today, Jewish people are considered white only in certain situations, by certain people, for certain purposes. In the end, the term "ethnicity" is valuable because it shows the way group identity changes in response to social forces whereas "race" suggests it stays the same as a scientific category of nature.

      Further questions to consider: What are some other differences between "race" and "ethnicity"? What are some ethnic groups inside "racial" groups? What are some of the tensions that happen within "racial" groups between ethnicities? Why is it important to address these conflicts by focusing on ethnicity?

  • Preferred Names
    • Some get frustrated by group names because they change so frequently. Many dismiss preferred names as a product of an "overly sensitive culture" enforced by the "P.C. police," but these names reflect the nature of language. Our language changes and evolves based on the people who use it. All kinds of terms for all kinds of things come and go. Why would it be any different for the words that groups of people use to describe themselves? To improve accuracy and inclusivity, call groups by the names they prefer.

      Further questions to consider: How have members from outside of these groups named them? Why? Why do the preferred names of groups change over time? What are some specific examples?

  • Stereotypes
    • Stereotypes present a distorted view of people. They are the material by which people form biases. They become shortcuts for understanding. Rather than going through the hard work of seeing what a group or individual is actually like, many rely on stereotypes about those entities. Stereotypes misrepresent people as much as caricature drawings. They reproduce limited stock images over and over until it becomes difficult to understand or even recognize when people don't fit into these molds.

      Further questions to consider: Where do stereotypes come from? Why do audiences tend to like stereotypes that reinforce assumptions about people rather than more authentic and complicated representations of underrepresented groups?

  • People of Color
    • The term "people of color" (or POC) is valuable in the U.S. because it highlights that major tension exists between white people, who enjoy racial advantages, and non-white people, who do not. While conflict also exists between different groups of color, the major producer and product of racial injustice in the US. is white supremacy. For example, the clash between Black and Latinx people in the U.S. is nowhere near as prevalent or harmful as the struggle both groups experience with white society.

      Another important term is BIPOC, which puts people who identify as Black or Indigenous at the forefront. Though the terms "people of color" and "BIPOC" are valuable in highlighting unjust advantages given to whites, they tend to overlook the different relationships these groups have to American society. For example, a nation of Indigenous people who have lived on a reservation for generations have a vastly different relationship to white supremacy than a group of Mexican people who immigrated to the U.S. a few years ago. Another example: African Americans statistically have a drastically different relationship to education, employment, healthcare, political power, and legal protection in the United States than many Asian American groups. For these reasons, the terms "people of color" and "BIPOC" are important to remind ourselves that racial tension in the U.S. is largely between people who enjoy white privilege and people who are denied those advantages. However, it remains important to remember that different identities that fall under the "people of color" umbrella have varied access to social positions and privileges.

      Further questions to consider: What is the origin of the BIPOC moniker, and why did the creators feel it important to spotlight Black and Indigenous identities?

  • Ally
    • While allies are people who practice antiracism to improve life for people of color, it is important to note that there is such a thing as performative allyship. Performative allies are those who spend more time bragging about helping marginalized groups than actually helping them. They might be the individuals who only serve these communities while making countless social media posts about doing so. They might be companies who only help disadvantaged groups when it becomes advantageous to them. Beyond performative allies, there are problematic allies who help fight racism for all the right reasons but do so in flawed ways. They might be people who have a savior complex and treat the disadvantaged like helpless children incapable of helping themselves. They might be controlling, taking charge of the fight against racism without listening to the people for whom they're supposedly fighting.

      Further questions to consider: What are some situations where allies might try to help people of color but end up making things worse? How can you avoid those mistakes?

  • Tokenism
    • While diversity has its virtues, problems arise when it leads to tokenism. Tokenism makes an organization look inclusive because they have a person from an underrepresented group on their team. At the same time, the organization might ignore that person, deny them opportunities, and refuse to let them advance. Using a person of color without giving them power, the organization effectively reduces them to a token. Through tokenism, an institution can protect itself from accusations of bigotry while remaining bigoted. It can give a handful of jobs to handful of people from disadvantaged groups without ever doing anything to help those entire groups, much less the "token employees" from them, experience advantages historically reserved for white people.

      Further questions to consider: What are some things an organization might do that exemplify tokenism? Why might a company rely on tokenism?

  • Intersectionality
    • Intersectionality refers to the ways in which all members of a society have multiple social identities. Subjects have a racial identity, but they also have ethnic, gender, sexual, class, national, ability/accessibility, and class identity. For the purposes of specificity, this card deck focuses on race and ethnicity, but it is important to note that there are other identities. It is also important to note that focusing on racism, for example, can overshadow other forms of social injustice. For example, some criticize Black Lives Matter for focusing on police violence against Black men, and they have pushed the movement to address violence against Black women and Black trans people. It is important to note that all groups contain multiple smaller groups. Focusing on a common characteristic that unites a group is important, but it is also important to recognize that group identity can ignore other characteristics that make them different. For example, during the 1960s and 1970s, many Black women accused feminist movements of concentrating on rich, white, straight women, so they challenged them to also confront issues of race, class, and sexuality. If the objective is social justice, political movements have to be specific enough to be effective while remembering the intersectionality that makes every member of one group a member of multiple groups and makes every united group have internal differences.

      Further questions to consider: how do racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, xenophobia, ableism, and classism relate? How might fighting one form of oppression end up ignoring another? How might focusing on one social identity end up ignoring others? What movements do a good job of being specific enough to be focused and clear, but broad enough to be intersectional and inclusive?

  • Racial gaslighting
    • Many people who commit microaggressions are passive-aggressive (see card on 'microaggressions'). They might make, do, or say something that is racially insensitive. When someone calls them out for it, they'll lash out and accuse the critic of overreacting. If you tell someone their behavior is inappropriate, they might claim you're overreacting, being too sensitive, can't "take a joke," or blowing an issue out of proportion. The point of racial gaslighting is to do something bigoted, then make you doubt yourself when you call out that bigotry. This practice will make you wonder if you experienced what you thought you did. It will undermine your confidence when trying to report behavior. It will make you think that you're in the wrong for trying to stand up for what's right.

      Further questions to consider: What are some other examples of racial gaslighting? Why might someone racially gaslight someone else? Do you think racial gaslighting is always intentional? Why or why not?

  • Exoticization
    • Bigotry suggests difference is bad (see card on 'bigotry'). Multiculturalism suggests difference is to be celebrated (see card on 'multiculturalism'). Exoticization suggests difference is cool. It reduces the traditions, culture, and behaviors of ethnic groups to little more than a series of interesting characteristics to collect. It also reduces the complex characteristics of entire groups of people to nothing more than the most glamorous traits. Exoticization suggests all Black people are naturally athletic, all Indigenous people have spiritual powers, people of Asian descent are good at math, and Latinx people are good dancers. Even this positive stereotyping can be dehumanizing. If people keep wanting you to rap, sing, cook, dress up, or play for them, they can make you seem like an object that only exists for their amusement.

      Further questions to consider: What are some examples of exoticization? How can exoticization harm people of color? How can it undermine antiracism?

  • White Fragility
    • White fragility refers to the panic many white people feel when talking about race. It alludes to how the people who benefit from white privilege refuse to acknowledge or even discuss it. White fragility often inspires reactions like lashing out, shutting down, monopolizing the conversation, derailing discussion with tears or anger, racial gaslighting (see 'racial gaslighting' card in this deck), and insisting whites have it harder than any other group in the United States. One reason white supremacy remains strong is that white fragility keeps those who benefit from it from even talking about it. Similarly, when it comes to male fragility, straight fragility, cisgender fragility, and non-disabled fragility, members of these groups enjoy the privileges of their position and allow injustice to exist because they've always assumed their advantages were natural, universal, and eternal. In rare instances where people have to talk about them in an analytical way, fragility often makes them fall apart before any productive dialogue can occur.

      Further questions to consider: What are some examples of white fragility? What are some topics that might cause white fragility to pop up? What does white fragility happen?

  • Riot vs. Protest
    • Numerous studies have shown how Americans disproportionately use the word "riot" when talking about mass gatherings of people of color. Conversely, when large groups of white people overcrowd public spaces, destroy property, or even commit violence, those same Americans are more likely to insist these events are nothing more than people exercising their right to protest. Calling an event a protest or a riot passes judgment regarding which kinds of social gatherings are legitimate and which are not. For these reasons, "protest" remains a more accurate and neutral word than "riot." If the protests turn violent, they can be called "violent protests." If they destroy property, one can simply say "protesters destroyed property." Oversimplifying issues by calling these gatherings "riots," however, suggests that the concerns raised by protesters are dangerous, unorganized, and wrong.

      Further questions to consider: With these issues in mind, who decides when a "protest" becomes a "riot"? What criteria do they use? Given the racial background of these definers and the racial background of people often accused of rioting, why is it problematic calling a protest, even a violent one, a "riot"? What benefits do people from powerful groups get by being able to dismiss a protest as nothing more than a "riot"?

  • False equivalence
    • False equivalence inaccurately claims two things are the same when they are not. People sometimes use this tactic to dismiss calls for social justice, claiming that privileged groups are actually the ones disadvantaged. For example, a man might claim to be the true victim of sexism, or a cisgender person could argue that they face more discrimination than a transgender person. When it comes to talking about racism, false equivalence often appears when white people insist they suffer more disadvantages than BIPOC. Citing policies, practices, and anecdotes, they might argue that all the scholarships, jobs, and promotions are given to unqualified people of color and taken from deserving whites. Rather than examining actual history, false equivalence concocts hypothetical situations where white people look like the real victims of white supremacy.

      Further questions to consider: What might be some responses to false equivalence that foster more sympathy and understanding?



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Uplifting Impact is a diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) consulting firm that helps individual leaders and companies find innovation through authentic connections.