Talking race…. It’s ok!
They say there are five things you should never discuss in public, interestingly Race was never one of those things, but yet it still feels like a very taboo like subject. In this day and age talking about Race, cultural differences, the disparities and discrimination that sadly very much exists today is important more now than ever.
Looking at my own family unit, my children are of mixed heritage and has their mother who is black, married to a wonderful white man, it is paramount that our children learn and understand the past and present history of both of their roots & cultural backgrounds, how they differ, and why it is ok to talk about Race and culture freely but respectfully.
October is Black History Month, but often leads me to question why we are only focussing and talking about the history that black people were part of only one month out of twelve…. Surely, it’s just history which should be taught from a young age, embraced, and talked about anytime of the year!
In February 2014 Reni Eddo-Lodge posted an impassioned argument fuelled by deep seated frustration with the way discussions of race and racism were constantly being shut down by those who aren’t affected by it, those feelings sadly I am sure are shared by many. The events that have happened over the last 18 months with BLM’s only highlight that we shouldn’t be shying away from talking openly and honestly about Race, despite the awkwardness, sadness, and frustration as there is so much more learning to do.
Over the lockdown period whilst missing family and friends many of us I am sure resulted to virtual parties and gatherings in order to keep in touch with our loved ones, I remember one Thursday evening (as Thursday was our girly night) the subject of ‘race’ and my experiences of racism came up in our conversation – as a group of girlfriends from multi-cultural backgrounds we fully embraced this discussion with respect, peace, and love; but what was so refreshing was the learnings and shift in actions and behaviours that came from that one discussion. After the discussion I received a beautiful message from one of my friends saying ‘Thank you’ it felt so comfortable to talk so openly with you all, we weren’t shy about talking race… it’s ok! That Thursday was very much about feeling accomplished. So why doesn’t these types of conversations happen more?
Through having these open, honest, and respectful conversations of talking race, can you gain more insight into the past and present history, gain more insight into the many challenges and barriers people face as a result of their race, conversations that get you to challenge your own behaviours and how your actions could contribute to those challenges. Language and the use of (both verbal & body) is everything, let’s keep it positive. This subject is very much an education piece that we all should want to contribute to, in order to move forward in becoming more diverse and inclusive in our nature.