Episode 44: Sparking Dialogue About Race and Racism Through Storytelling and Interaction

Hello listeners, and welcome back to Tech Forward! This week, I spoke with Catherine Wigginton Greene, Executive Director of content and engagement at Point Made Learning. She directed the feature documentary I’m Not Racist… Am I? (INRAI) which followed a diverse group of teens through a yearlong exploration of race and racism. From there, she led the development of Point Made’s newest offering – INRAI Digital – which uses the documentary as the foundation for a 3.5-hour online antiracism course. She also travels the U.S. leading workshops and facilitating dialogue about race and racism. Today we’ll be talking about some of the insights she has uncovered about race relations through her work, and how companies can improve their diversity training initiatives.

Catherine’s work with Point Made Films began as a side project during her years as a freelance journalist, but she found herself quickly swept up in both the world of filmmaking, and the work the company was doing. She focuses now on topics related to race and racism, having felt called to that path for much of her life. After switching from a predominantly White Catholic school to a more diverse public school setting in the 5th grade, she noticed even then that her family reacted differently to some of her new friends. This began her internal work of unlearning the unspoken messages she had received throughout her childhood — a process reflected in the efforts currently made by Point Made Learning.

I’m Not Racist… Am I? follows 12 teenagers over the course of a school year as they engage in discussions about unconscious bias, systemic racism, and other race issues. Despite the prevailing belief that racist attitudes will disappear with generational shifts, growing up in a racial hierarchy will still influence the beliefs of young people — even those living in diverse areas like New York City. “If you don’t explicitly discuss the factors of how we got to this place, you start to make assumptions about who belongs where, and who deserves to be there.” In showing the film at schools all over the country, Catherine and the team at Point Made noticed a common trend: students couldn’t stop talking about the film, and not only to each other. They brought the  discussion to their teachers and their parents!

Upon seeing the film for themselves, these parents then wanted to arrange showings in the workplaces as a supplement to diversity training. In an effort to create a platform for companies to engage with this work in a meaningful way, Point Made Learning was born. This consulting and programming extension combines an online course with interactive exercises and facilitated discussions for an immersive and engaging experience. Rather than simply “checking a box,” the goal here is a nuanced exploration into identifying and interrupting patterns of bias.

Catherine, thank you so much for coming onto the show and sharing your work with Point Made Learning — and some of the noteworthy results you’ve witnessed firsthand at the corporate level. Thank you also to those of you out there listening, sharing, and reviewing the show. See you next week!


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