Thursday, July 7, 2016

Look at This: Under Our Skin at the Seattle Times

Things won't get better until we learn how to talk about these things

There is so much ugly happening right now in the world with regards to race, violence, and and prejudice. I can only hope we are reaching some kind of tipping point where things will get better (oh dear Lord, they so desperately need to get better), but I don't think that will happen for as long as people are siloing themselves off into one side or another of the issues.

Of course, it doesn't help that we have all these race-related terms these days (white privilege, institutional racism, colour blindness, etc.) without a clear, widely adopted definition.

The Seattle Times has taken a stab at helping: they have 18 people from a variety of backgrounds discussing these terms.

I don't have any answers, but the one thing I've noticed is how instantly tense everyone gets when these topics arise. We tense up and we feel something: anger, fear, confusion, defensiveness, sadness, guilt. We feel attacked or misunderstood. We feel we can't say anything right or that we're not being heard.

These feelings are unpleasant, and so we do what our brains are designed to do: we explain away the issue so we don't have to feel these uncomfortable feelings.

What if we all watched these videos and talked to our friends and family about these terms and issues, and instead of avoiding the awkward feelings or trying to make ourselves feel better, we just live with that discomfort for a bit and then see what is going on underneath? What would happen then?

Go to The Seattle Times' Under Our Skin page and see what it's all about.

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