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From the election season to killings by police, community radio has a great opening to examine race and gender.

With a growing partisan race and gender gulf and varied opinions on Black Lives Matter, the United States wants to talk about race. Allegations of sexual assault by Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump have sparked a national exchange about violence against women and about gender.

How should community radio respond? By opening the microphones with purpose, and helping listeners understand the world today and its myriad issues.

Here are a few ideas:

  1. Ask about echo chambers. People having access to information they agree with through social media algorithms is something many talk about. The effects of it, including skewed perceptions of right/wrong and ignorance of others’ suffering, have a¬†deep impact. But how do you get past it? Here are some conversation starters.
  2. How do white people explore race? It’s challenging to prompt conversations about white privilege that don’t become defensive, or critical in a way that heads off openness. One of the producers of the podcast Another Round shared her open letter, and let the discussion unfold. This may help your station have its own broadcast panel or forum on race and privilege.
  3. The Trump incidents in the context of men and power. Most everyone was repulsed by the recent scandals around Donald Trump. Few talk about the global epidemic of sexual assault and violence against women. If we accept that cultural factors such as sexism contribute to normalization of abuse, how does community media create an elevated discussion?

Passions this election year are high. Listeners want to talk about diversity and inclusion. Think of it as your opportunity to demonstrate your community radio station’s relevance in contemporary dialogs.

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