If you have fear you’re talking to the wrong people. I think how you inquire is key. A lot of White people simply don’t know how to do anything tactfully, because they never have to be tactful. When you have the freedom and privilege to say what you want, when you want, how you want, to whomever you want, you often don’t realize how offensive you are. Privilege hides offensiveness.

We’re all frustrated these days, but I can have conversations with White people who know how to ask questions. Tone matters and there are simply a lot of men who don’t know how to talk to women and people of color without sounding like they run the world, lecturing or talking down to them, or mixing patriarchal/racist opinions with authentic questions.

Don’t give me your opinion or tell me I’m wrong, ignore my pain/issue, or center re-Whiteness and ask me a question at the same time in the same comment.

That’s offensive and you get the reaction you deserve.

Having rich conversations online is an artform. If you don’t know how to do it properly, perhaps you should read more comments where people are having healthy, robust back and forths. Usually when the conversation stops because the non-White person said something offense and the POC reacted or learning has occured.

Sometimes, POC/Blacks are simply fed up with coddling White folks and White folks not knowing anything and address the non- Black/POC inappropriately. People not engaged in anti-racism work don’t care about your feelings or care to respond in a manner pleasing to you. People who do anti-racism work have a desire to have conversations on race with White people. If you continue experiencing anxiety, perhaps you should find a food anti-racism group to help you build your confidence and to learn how to speak to others. Just because a person is non-White or a woman doesn’t mean they desire to entertain questions from White people or POC. Knowing when to ask is an art you must learn.

If you find people are flaring up with you, perhaps you should reread your own words from a Black/POC point of view. If you were them, would you find your questions or tone problematic?

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store