While I may be able to talk about race and write about its effects from week to week without a panic attack, I know that this is a difficult conversation for much of America. There are so many sides to this story that it is exhausting to think about all that we need to say. But for me, the real fear and felt loss is what we may never know about ourselves and each other.
While the words don’t come out so easily in front of strangers and might be well- rehearsed with family and understood among friends, I wonder what kind of conversation we are having with ourselves. What does it mean to be a racialized person? What am I saying when I identify myself as a social color?
Race. The word is as misunderstood as we are in terms of this social category. It is good for some and bad for others. It comes with privileges for some and has been nothing but a problem for others. How do we make sense of it all?
It’s not so easy when we take the colors away and start to look at each other without the stereotypes. I invite you to listen in on yourself, to eaves drop without fear of judgment or the pressure of a response. I promise that my next post will not be follow- up questions. I’ll leave them to you.
Listen to what you are saying to yourself and about others when it comes to the social construct of race. Listen to what you are willing to say about others and believe about yourself for the sake of race. Listen long and hard. Listen without interrupting or explaining. Listen without assumption of what needs to be said or done. Listen without expectation or prepared arguments.
Just listen. Hear yourself out for once. And don’t allow race to do any of the talking.
The words. Who we are. What we have made others out to be. It’s not so black and white.