Pressing Pause On A ‘National Conversation On Race’

Everyday brings more examples. People regularly write, speak, and/or behave in ways a majority of people would deem racially insensitive, if not outright racist. What should we do about that?

It seems like we’ve decided to make the consequences so severe that the racially insensitive have no choice but to suppress their racist tendencies. Dox them, ostracize them, fire them from their jobs.

Conservative Republicans, who not always, but often are racially insensitive, are quick to label this “cancel culture” which only adds to their persecution complex and makes them even more defensive on subjects of race.

Personally, at this time of heightened racial consciousness, I’m most interested in what militant black men and women are thinking. The more militant, the more I tune in.

Historically, there have been repeated calls by progressives of all colors for a “national conversation on race”. As a life-long educator, that strategy is my preferred one, but I’m not hearing militants make many, if any references to “conversation”.

Maybe that’s because conversation requires slowing down in order to address mutual defensiveness. Instead, activists are accelerating demands for long sought for changes which makes total sense given our collective attention deficit disorder. How long until the media spotlight shifts? In essence, strike now for legislative protections against state-sponsored violence; strike now for the removal of Confederate statues, flags, and related symbols; strike now to destroy white supremacy in whatever form.

As a pro-conversation educator, I’m out of step with the times. Which is okay. Just know I’ll be committed to the conversation long after the spotlight shifts.


7 thoughts on “Pressing Pause On A ‘National Conversation On Race’

  1. I like this a lot! There’s a lot to juggle – clearly conversations are important, but so is the kind of action particularly available during watershed moments like this. I’ve been doing the same thing, trying to tune into the most progressive, hard line black public thinkers I can find.

  2. I don’t Know what is meant by “Hardline.” I think if you look at the leading voices e.g. Ibram X Kendi, Ta Nehesi Coates, and Robin DiAngelo, they are all very reflective people. HR40 is a bill that specifically asks for dialogue. Two of the 3 people I name are .Dialogue and learning takes place when people are emotionally regulated. That is a well-researched fact. People who are enraged get regulated when they feel listened to, that is also a well researched fact.

    • Thanks Larry, excellent points. My imperfect sense is that there’s very little “emotional regulation” to go around at this particular time and place. And based on your last sentence, that’s probably because we’re falling woefully short on listening to black and brown people’s voices, leading or otherwise.

  3. I agree. I just started reading a book about race based trauma. It was recommended to me by a school principal who loved it. When you perceive yourself getting dismissed over and over again because of skin color, there are many ways you can deal with trauma, one is rage, and the rage is also defense to protect yourself from feeling further hurt. For anyone interested the book is called My Grandma’s Hands. Author has a website

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