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I’m Linda, and my style is to keep my blog posts short and sweet, and always insightful. My goal is to help you expand your thinking and your world, to thrive and feel good about you.

in inquisitive whites

Jul 22, 2020

How to navigate prickly encounters about race

Yvonne* asked:

Lately, while going about my everyday busy-ness, I've had white people--strangers--try to turn a casual conversation into a discussion about race by slipping in a seemingly simple question like why do Blacks... (Yes, I'm Black.) I am more annoyed by this than grateful that a white person wants to pick my black brain under the guise of "see, I'm trying to relate", but I'm at a loss as to how to deal with this type of situation. Help me out with this.

I experience this all the time too, Yvonne.

As someone who's shielded more than a few of these wanna-be learning sessions, let me say that being put on the spot as the “official" Black spokesperson is not only inappropriate but also offensive. I understand your frustration. Even if inquisitive whites weren’t trying to be rude but instead wanted to engage, however awkward, in a sincere and comfortable dialogue about race, it's not something you should have to figure out. There's a time and a place for such conversation, and I get that when you're at the grocery store, your mind is on picking the biggest, ripest tomato and not on playing 20 questions about race. It's very much like asking for free professional advice from someone you have just met at a dinner party.

No matter how well-intention their motives, you are under no obligation to follow them down that rabbit hole. Simply point them to the vast informational pool called Google. Its a helpful resource for everyone.

*Name changed for privacy



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