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February 21, 2013

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Fascinating post..And interesting that you talk to your readers as if you assume they are all white. Would love to hear reactions to this from readers who aren't white. Please chime in if that's you!

Sarah,

You've listened, you've thought about it and you've taken action. That's a lot more than people, no matter what race, ever do.

This is a great article and the call to action is an easy one for people to start doing the minute they finish reading. Thinking about racism is uncomfortable for many people in America, especially those that benefit from it.

I can vouch for your personal efforts on this. I've seen you at many events I've attended and you've been responsible for inviting me to at least two for speaking opportunities.

Since I'm Black, Jewish and female, I contribute to the solution by sharing my experiences, mentoring others and speaking up often. The results have been phenomenal and I will continue to do so.

I like this post- I think listening to people whose experiences and opinions are different from one's own is ESSENTIAL. And I definitely agree about being blind to one's own bias- it's natural to be secretly racist and not even realize it.

Good article. Thanks for posting.

My only comment would be, that i disagree that a preference towards one's own people group is negative. This is rooted in us from hundreds of thousands of years of evolution as a tribal species. I think being conscious to avoid discriminating is a noble idea.

People groups within a tribe or race are binded by their similarities, and blinded to outsiders. So the saying goes, "What binds us, blinds us."

I'd be careful trying to take the moral high ground against normal human behavior. And no, im not saying discrimination or human rights violations are normal human behavior.

As a black man i don't expect a white person to look at me and not notice im black and treat me like a white person. That would be utopian, where as i think being pragmatic about our differences is the only logical way forward.

while i certainly appreciate your consciousness, intention, and self-awareness, i really don't see this sort of change happening via twitter. i'm not saying it's impossible, i'm saying that the forum is insufficient.

what is needed is direct, open, & honest conversations in which people are safe -and willing- to dig into themselves, the history of this country, and the present oppressive systems that keep our society alive. as much as we would love to see it, this is not happening in 140.

i have observed (and participated in) attempts to have such conversations, set examples, etc. inevitably, you get trolls (from all sides) who derail the conversation with hateful, uninformed, closed-minded vitriol. this happens whether the conversations are serious/academic or use humour as a way to broach the subject. there are still far too many people who refuse to listen, jumping only to spew nonsense.

i do, however, understand the idea of taking small steps and changing things about one's everyday life. i just think we need bigger, more impactful efforts to get things moving.

thank you for your willingness to check your own leanings, step outside your comfort zone, and engage.

I've never really thought about the color of the folks I follow on twitter... some I don't know color or gender, others I know but I follow them because they are interesting rather than fitting a stereotype.

I did the IAT and I was worried that the result would show me something I didn't like about myself, but I was really happy to see the result "Your data suggest little to no automatic preference between European American and African American."

Thanks for the great comments, everyone.

@Michael: I didn't mean to imply that a preference for one's own group (or groups) is itself a problem. But I do think that when ignoring our predispositions leads to systemic inequity, it's important to try to understand them and possibly counter them. Freada Kapor Klein once pointed out to me that we all have hidden biases; how we deal with them is a choice. That's the angle I'm hoping to illuminate here.

@AmandaMichelle: I agree thoroughly that Twitter is a bad medium for conversations about race. I meant to suggest fairly narrowly that it can a good place for white people to listen to groups we're not part of, as a step toward awareness during in-person conversations. (Of course, the opposite is unnecessary, in the way we don't need White History Month.) If I do a follow-up post, I'll emphasize that point.

Sarah, very thought provoking post and I look forward to discussing this with you and Tony in the future.

I have to admit, while reading it, I had this Avenue Q song stuck in my head:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RovF1zsDoeM

Curtis, I'd forgotten about that song; thanks for posting it. (From Avenue Q, my mind mostly gets drawn to "The Internet is for Porn." Which could be the subject of many additional blog posts.)

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