It’s ok to talk about race. Yup, I said it.
In our politically correct world of indirect statements and posturing, it seems as if the mere use of words like race, ethnicity, sex, religion or orientation are likely to elicit a few gasps and frowns. Ironically, that’s precisely the problem. If we want our society to move forward, then it’s about time that we comfortably communicate with one another in open and frank discussions without fidgeting in mid-conversation. Indeed, some of the most engaging panel discussions that I participated in the University of Rochester were from the Campus Diversity Roundtable and the Pan African Students’ Association’s perceptions of blackness.
Sharing our differences is a healthy way of sharing and building respect for one another — and that doesn’t mean that I need to agree with or even embrace everyone’s idea about sexual preference or religious identification; however, I at least see it as my responsibility to understand where they are coming from and why they feel the way they do about certain issues. When I discuss my differences with someone else, it allows me to strengthen my self-identification and awareness of others without either condemning them or exhaling myself.Now that I can navigate the ins and outs of my own self-identity and allegiances, I can truly appreciate racial, political, economic and religious discourse with others. By no surprise, I always have a harder time holding a meaningful conversation with people who agree and interpret everything that I say the same way.