Talking points – Effective Strategies for Confronting Racism in Conversation

These strategies were generated from our Conversation Salons! Thank you to all the participants, planners, facilitators and space providers. Friendly reminder that having the choice about wether or not to address racist or oppressive comments is  privilege.

–Educate yourself so you can present history and facts. Read bell hooks, and more.P1060776

–Recognize intentions, ask about intentions. Recognize and explore your own, too.

– Humanize the other person

–Build relationships if applicable

–It’s ok to not be polished or perfect in your delivery. We MUST make mistakes.

–Have internal process, collect thoughts, take space and come back to conversation if possible/desired.

–Get in touch with your body so you can know what emotions you are feeling to try to have more control over your response.

–Meridian tapping – to bring your emotions down

–Out yourself as a racist –“wow I used to think like that and someone told me or I realized I was…”

–Strength in numbers – get others involved.

–Ask questions ‘what?’, ‘What did you mean by…?’, ‘Have you heard how that statement can be interpreted as racist?’

–Use humor

– Flirt with and charm people.

– Be rude! “what the h-e-double hockey sticks are you talking about?!” Sometimes you just gotta tell somebody something!

–Use transparency around confusion, annoyance and/or anger you may have. Say what your emotions are without judgment of them and yourself.

– Use I-statements: ‘When I hear a comment like that, I feel really disappointed…’ etc.

–Make normal the ‘other’ : ‘My friend is from Thailand and I have never seen them act the way you’re generalizing before…’

– Interrupt the ‘white as normal’ idea – like “oh are you talking about white people?” when people are leaving out that detail and making generalization about all people when they mean white people.

– Know that you don’t have to understand to accept another’s point of view/experience and let others know that they don’t have to either — and it’s actually not your job to understand and a lot of times you might not ever be able too. “as a white person i can’t understand really what it feels like to be black – i can accept their point of view”

-Don’t write people off cuz they said something racist. Doing that means you don’t think people can change. And that is a criminal justice mindset. That is not acknowledging your own journey of transformation and change.

Skills and tactics specifically from the family convo salon:

– Use a strength-based approach and do it with love (forgiveness, being present, breathing, mindfulness, embracing complexity, encouraging the good and growth, be choosy about when and how and use respect)

– Choose your battles. Timing is important

– Use relationship knowledge and care for said relationship

– Speak from your own experience

– Meet people where they are at

– Keep in mind prior layers and dynamics, and acknowledge and address them if you can

– Find out what’s really going on (like frustration with another relationship or a boss situation) and get to that while then addressing the race issue that maybe brought you there.

– Empathy

– Offer help (in educational resources, in solutions to their problems, etc)

– Use reason

– Use emotion

-Recognize dead ends in the conversation and steer clear or return when more  potential exists

– Focus on the individual and what they can control rather than others involved


Also – Check out Conversation Interventions from the Anti-Racist Cook Book

One comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s