It is easy to reset, to move on to the next outrage, to the next shiny object. “Ooh. What’s that?” We want to be distracted. We hope that we can forget.
But, we cannot continue to let this be the case. Race is a problem and it doesn’t just go away. Instead, it is here to stay, stuck between our teeth, hanging on to our thin skin. We carry it with us. A word with sharp edges that we continue to wrap carefully and reuse, race is the weapon and the wound.
Still, we talk about race as if it is all we have, like it is all that we can say about ourselves, as if we are only flesh and blood. We talk about race as if our lives depend on it, like we cease to exist if we are not socially colored beige, brown, black, red, yellow and white. And though we cannot see the end of it (that is, post- racial), race is not our beginning. We cannot see past it but there is no future with race.
A socio- political construct, we talked ourselves into this belief in race and we will need to talk ourselves out of it. You may not know this but we are not alone in this desire. Recently, a number of books have been published that aim to discuss our relationship with race and empower readers to talk about it. Please consider adding these to your reading list and your bookshelves:
Robin Diangelo, White Fragility: Why it’s so hard for white people to talk about racism, (Boston, MA: Beacon Press, 2018).
Carolyn B. Helsel, Anxious to talk about it: Helping White Christians Talk Faithfully About Racism, (Saint Louis, MO: Chalice Press, 2017).
Ijeoma Oluo, So you want to talk about race?, (New York, NY: Seal Press, 2018).
Derang Wing Sue, Race Talk and the Conspiracy of Silence: Understanding and Facilitating Difficult Dialogues on Race, (Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2015).
Shelly Tochluk, Witnessing Whiteness: The Need to Talk about Race and How to Do It, (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Education, 2010).