Socialized into a deeply internalized sense of superiority and entitlement that we are either not consciously aware of or can never admit to ourselves, white people become highly fragile in conversations about race."Getting it" when it comes to race and racism challenges our very identities as good white people.
Maybe random conversations about race can't be meaningful. Maybe we can't expect relative strangers in a busy coffee shop to connect over the subject. But I tire of all the reasons we can't make progress on this issue. People don't want to talk about race, period, not with strangers, not with friends, not over dinner. It's as if we won't acknowledge it.
These are women with family-friendly brands. They have made their livings online by being noncontroversial and avoiding the icky parts of life -- the icky parts that I love to dive into head first. But there they were, chiming in and telling me of their own fears and worry, thus mitigating my own ache.
At the Louisiana State University Law Center, the silence on race is deafening. It is deafening because race is never really off the table. Students discuss race with members of their own racial group, but they rarely have interracial conversations on race. As a result, students never learn about other people's lives or experiences -- they never become culturally competent.