Given the legacy of racial injustice and mistrust that continues to plague race relations in the United States, it is important that citizens of different racial backgrounds come together to share their feelings and thoughts about race issues in order to advance racial reconciliation in their own communities. Saunders (1999) asserts that such dialogues can transform interracial relationships that could inspire the larger community to change itself. This study presents the results of nine interracial focus groups from two dialogues on race relations events held in Dothan, Alabama in 2015 and 2016. Our findings illustrate that many Black respondents displayed both anger and sadness as they provided stories of the institutionalized racism (e.g., racial profiling, educational inequality, residential segregation, etc.) as well as the more personalized racism that they had experienced. White respondents too demonstrated anger and sadness when relating their own experiences of strained race relations. This mixed-methods study also employed API analysis to further strengthen our original qualitative exploration of emotions. We argue that interracial dialogues can hold the potential for racial reconciliation as participants’ stories elucidate our most intransient race problems while also highlighting the emotions that connect discussants through the dialogic process.

Author Bio(s)

Dr. Brooks started at Troy University in 2010 and is an Associate Professor of Sociology. Her research examines how to build more peaceful and inclusive societies. Some of her recent projects have included examining peace movement mobilization through protest music and on-going work on race relations. She organizes Dialogues on Race Relations events which have brought together law enforcement, politicians, clergy, activists, and community members to discuss the growing concerns over the racial divide, both nationally and locally.

Dr. Everhardt joined the Troy faculty in 2014 and is an Associate Professor of Sociology as well as the Chair of the Department of Anthropology, Sociology, and Criminology. Her main research interests include the study of race, class, and gender, especially low-income populations of women of color. Currently, major projects concern poverty, food insecurity, social isolation, and community gardens in low-income areas of Alabama. Further areas of interest include housing, homeownership, self-sufficiency programs for low-income populations, and volunteerism.

Dr. Earnest joined the Troy faculty in 2010 and is a Lecturer of Geography. Her research interests include perceptions of the importance of historic places, contested sites of monumentation/memorialization and historic preservation, and the intersection of politics with these ideas.

Dr. Dinc joined the Troy faculty in 2016 and is an Assistant Professor in Computer Science. She received her Masters and PhD from the University of Alabama in Huntsville. She also received her BSc degree in Computer Engineering Department from Dokuz Eylul University, Turkey in 2012 with first rank in the department and an honors degree in the college. She has served as a reviewer for IEEE/ACM Transactions on Computational Biology and Bioinformatics, IEEE Southeast Conference, and the International Symposium Multimedia.


race relations, emotions, race, racial reconciliation

Publication Date






To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.