- of getting hurt
- of offending someone
- of saying something stupid
- not much experience/training in how to talk about it
- not much knowledge about facts and underlying causes
- It's a VERY Sensitive Topic
- IT IS FREAKIN' UNCOMFORTABLE.
- WE ALL FEEL THREATENED.
- WE GET DEFENSIVE.
- Afraid of using the wrong terms or otherwise saying something offensive.
- Afraid of being called a racist or otherwise ‘attacked’
- Don’t want to have to change how I talk etc.
- Afraid that changing things means losing something (while denying white privilege)
- Conversations feel disrespectful. People of Color hear the same stories and excuses over and over again from whites when race comes up. Things like “I don’t see race” or “Prove it to me” or “It takes time.” These things assert the validity of the white person’s world view and deny the person of color’s experience.
From: People of Color Organize "10 Conversations On Racism I'm Sick of Having With White People"
- Example: Talking about race is difficult and I generally don’t get into discussions of race unless I am around other people of color. I don’t like talking about race with most white people because many are blissfully unaware of their privilege. When around other people of color, I usually get into good, deep discussions. When I have gotten into discussions with some white people, I have often gotten, “Oh, it’s not really like that. Maybe you’re exaggerating” or “You’re just too sensitive. I’m sure they didn’t mean it like that.” These things all negate my experience and more often than not, I am told by white people that I’m making it up. I can’t get in discussions about race for my sanity’s sake.
From: Resist Racism - 16 thoughtful observations on race by commenters
- It’s exhausting and for some traumatic to talk about race.
- Forced to be spokesperson for my race.
- Feel like I have to teach (for free) the people who make my life difficult.
“So one answer to the question What can I do? is simple: Listen. Believe."It seems pretty obvious to me that most people of color would have a more heightened awareness of racism than most whites. It doesn't mean they can articulate it well or that they don't, on occasion, see racism when it isn't there. And it doesn't mean that some whites aren't pretty savvy on this topic. In general though, this advice, "Listen. Believe" is pretty good. Don't interrupt. Don't deny other people's experiences. Ask for more explanation and context if you must, but pay attention to the emotion when they tell you.