by Brent Palmer
Brent Palmer, a senior Intercultural Communication major, shares three tips for navigating and facilitating conversations of race. This is the first of his three-part series on race and communication.
I am an intercultural communication studies major. My experience as a black man has taught me that I often have to explain how my experience is different than others. My experiences as intercultural communication major have taught me how to communicate these and other differences more effectively. Since we live in a diverse society filled with members of various cultures and races, it makes sense that you’re also going to have a need to get along with others different than you. The following blog post highlights three tips for navigating and facilitating conversations of race.
One of my favorite books is So You Want to Talk about Race by Ijeoma Oluo. I read this book in order to learn more on how to facilitate conversations about race. The personal touches Ijeoma adds by using stories from her own life makes this a captivating read that I would recommend to everyone.
The book covers a myriad of situations and faux pas that are committed every day when we communicate with people of other races, and it helps to facilitate better conversations on the topic. One of my favorite chapters of the book is the very first chapter. It offers sound advice that can assist you when the tricky topic of race comes up in conversation. One of the major challenges of talking about race is whether you know you are talking about race. This is the goal of the first chapter.
In chapter 1, Ijeoma is talking to a friend about broader political issues having to do with the election of Trump. Ijeoma wants to shift the conversation to race. Her friend is resisting. Her friend thinks conversations are not about race, Ijeoma disagrees. For these situations, Ijeoma suggests three guidelines to remember.
A conversation is about race if:
I will be providing three posts on this book over the next few weeks. Now that I have explained why conversations often include the topic of race and how to recognize them, in my next two posts I will cover the following chapters: “What are Micro-aggressions” and “I Just Got Called a Racist, what do I do Next?”.