One America Dialogue Guide (part of One America in the 21st Century: The President’s Initiative on Race)

Publication date – March 1998
Developed by –The President’s Initiative on Race and the Community Relations Service, U.S. Department of Justice

Aims, objectives, and intended audience

Created as part of President Clinton’s “One America in the 21st Century: The President’s Initiative on Race,” this dialogue guide is designed to help people uncover commonalities and appreciate their differences. This guide is very general and thus is appropriate for use by anyone interested in conducting a dialogue on race.

Broad structure and key educational methods

The One America Dialogue Guide presents racial dialogue as a four phase process. The actual structure of the dialogue(s) can vary based on the desires of the organizers and/or participants, but regardless of the number of sessions, the guide advocates following the four phase process. This guide relies on the sharing of personal experiences and a common commitment to improving participants’ local community.

Key topics or themes by module

1. Who Are We?

In this opening phase, participants begin to share about their racial, ethnic, and/or cultural backgrounds and their early memories of initial encounters with people who are different from them.

2. Where Are We?

Phase II moves this conversation about race to a community level. This phase invites participants to share about their current experiences with race relations in the community and to analyze the overall state of race relations. More specifically, questions cover what type of interracial interaction (if any) participants have with folks of other races, additional variables in the community that affect race relations, and the extent to which participants can agree on the causes and severity of community-level racial problems.

3. Where Do We Want To Go?

By opening this phase with a visioning exercise, participants are guided towards thinking about possible directions for community change. The conversation then transitions to identifying what role(s) individuals and/or institutions may play in realizing this vision.

4. What Will We Do, As Individuals and With Others, To Make a Difference?

Building off the previous phase, this portion of the dialogue solicits concrete suggestions and commitments from participants on how to continue to build cross-racial understanding improve race-related challenges in their local community.

Curriculum acquisition information

A PDF of the guide is available here:

It is also available in electronic form at:

For more on President Clinton’s Initiative on Race, visit: