How to Talk about Racism

Last Friday I wrote about Paula Deen’s response to racism accusations and suggested that the best way to respond to being called a racist was to say “I’m sorry. I was wrong.”

My friend Stefan shared this TED Talk video with me on Facebook, suggesting an alternative way to have this conversation. One of my key takeaways from this video is that I can say a racially insensitive remark or be prejudice without “being a racist.” It doesn’t always have to be about identity.

In the talk, Jay Smooth says that being racially/culturally sensitive is a bit like keeping your teeth clean. If you have a piece of food stuck in your teeth and someone points it out, you don’t say, “What! I’m a clean person! I brush my teeth! I don’t have anything stuck there!” No, keeping clean is on ongoing process.

Watch it for yourself. It’s only 12 minutes, and I guarantee you will learn something. I know I did!

What do you think?

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