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4 Things to Consider for Conversations on Race, Identity & Systemic Oppression to Be Easier

Racial, ethnic and cultural diversity cannot emerge and thrive in situations where we cannot hold multiple complex realities at one time.

We often want our conversations on race, identity, and systemic oppression to be easy. Instead, discussions on these topics are messy, cyclical, highly personal, and unfold imperfectly over time. We should embrace the clumsiness of this work. These conversations hold space for their imperfection and the imperfection of others in the process.

We have to allow uncomfortable conversations and perspectives to emerge and transform our culture, whether our community, team, or organization.

Ask yourself, what would it take for us to create time and space within our organizations, team, community or family for nuanced and complex conversations to come to life?

In the latest Penny for a Thought episode, we talk about going through difficult conversations in which different realities collide, the power of listening, and the concept of coming out versus inviting people to be part of your life.

4 things to take in consideration for our conversations on race, identity & systemic oppression to be easier:

1. We have to slow down to increase awareness, analyze what is seen, and then move toward actions in authentic and integrated ways.

2. It takes more conversations, disagreements, and longer meetings to get everyone on the same page. These conversations require a ton of self-awareness, humility and maturity.

3. The task is to listen and learn from those negatively impacted by racism and white supremacy. Those who have experienced the problem have the keenest insights on how to solve the problem. Read, listen, and believe their stories.

4. The way forward will not be charted by those who benefited from the oppressive structures of the past. The path forward will be paved by the stories, creativity, ingenuity and delightful engagement of those who have historically been on the margins.


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