Conversations About Race in America Part I: Why They’re Difficult And What’s Needed

Carey, Chris, and Mike of the Deep Cover Pod join Matt for a long conversation about race in America after the events at the U.S. Capitol. We rolled the tape and ultimately decided to release it in multiple parts. 

If you’re black or truly a friend or family to black people, the summer of 2020 was an especially painful time. I shared some of my personal feelings several months ago at this site and on my podcast. I also made suggestions about how to have conversations about race in America and introduced the possibility that this would be an ongoing subject at my site.

Fast-forward to January and the world witnessed a group of mostly white men, many bearing symbols long-associated with white supremacist behavior storm the U.S. Capitol. Whether they want to acknowledge it or not, our public witnessed the unadulterated double-standard of how black and white people are regarded in this country when juxtaposing it with this summer’s BLM marches.

So my friends Carey, Chris, and Mike at the Deep Cover Podcast decided to join me for a free-flowing conversation based on a private conversation that Mike and I had the week prior. The main thing: How do they feel about being black men in the United States at this point in our history?

This week’s segment covers a variety of topics. Please keep in mind that when we talk about people of a specific race, we’re not implying “all” and instead implying “certain Black/White/Hispanic/Asian, etc.”

  • Why asking how a black person feels about the issue of race in this country is a difficult question in the first place.
  • The ambivalence of watching white people feeling the fear of a terrorist attack
  • The unrealistic standard that black people are held to about their feelings.
  • Why white people don’t understand the gravity of this summer’s events.
  • Why the events at the Capitol were not a surprise to many black people compared to many white people.
  • Why having an open and honest conversation between black and white people can be fraught with suspicion and how and when to start the conversation.
  • Why humility and vulnerability are important for initiating and continuing a conversation on this subject line.
  • Why these events weigh on black people and as individuals it leads to a feeling of uncomfortable vulnerability on a daily basis.
  • Why white people–intentionally or not–engage in conversation that put the burden of proof on black people to academically debate the existence of racism.
  • The problem with “not seeing race.”

The underlying takeaway I know I personally had after this segment of the conversation is that our country’s history is ONGOING. It’s not history in the past sense.

Because this is the case, the outcome of living in a society where trusting the wrong people or situations has potentially dire consequences for black people relative to white people. These outcomes have generated a baseline level of suspicion that I don’t think white people keep in mind when wanting to engage in a conversation about race.

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