VIDEO: How To Have Better Conversations About Race

My original plan for today’s post was to move our impact vs. intent discussion past the interpersonal level and examine how these concepts play out in at the organizational level. (I still think this will be a good topic for the future!)

But two things changed my mind.

First, on the YouTube page for yesterday’s video, Jay Smooth encourages us to “please also check out my TEDx Talk, that picks up where this left off!” So I did check it out, and it really is a great extension of the topics we’ve been covering this week. So that video (below) will be the meat of today’s post.

The other reason I changed my mind was because I wanted to share a personal experience from this week.

Somebody I featured on this website contacted me to let me know I had misrepresented part of their identity. I quickly apologized and corrected their information.

But then the person reached out again to (graciously) point out a place on the site where I could use better language to represent a group of people. It wasn’t anything horrible, but I should’ve known better. I was embarrassed!

I started thinking: Who do I think you am? What makes me think I’m qualified to lead others toward becoming a white ally? I can’t even get my language right. 

And then I thought: Wait a minute. Haven’t I been writing about how to take criticism well, and not make it about me? This is a perfect example of how even though my intent was good, my impact was harmful. Use this to teach others.

So I hope the next time you commit a racial faux pas, you remember, “It’s OK. Making mistakes is part of the growth process. Even the lady who writes at White Allies in Training makes mistakes when talking about race!”

I hope you enjoy Jay’s talk. It’s called, “How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Discussing Race.” Here is my favorite quote from it:

“If I could have one wish, it would be that we would reconsider how we conceptualize what it means to be a good person, and keep in mind that we’re not good despite our imperfections; it is the connection we maintain with our imperfections that allows us to be good. Being mindful of our personal and common imperfections is what allows us to be good to each other and good to ourselves…”

Have a great weekend!

(If the video doesn’t show up in your browser, click here to watch.)

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