How to talk to friends and family about race

There are many ways to be an ally and champion solutions for social change: donating, sharing resources, signing petitions, and fostering conversation with friends, family, and neighbors about racism, police brutality, and the importance of the Black Lives Matter movement.

Raw, honest communication about the impact of racism is powerful, but you may not know exactly where to start. Initiating a conversation about racism can be challenging, but according to experts it doesn’t have to be.

Patricia Devine

It is productive to share your personal views, as long as you don’t say “you’re wrong” about alternatives. Patricia Devine, PhD, psychology professor and director of the Prejudice Lab at University of Wisconsin Madison, recommends statements like, “I want to share with you what my perspective is, how I understand these issues, and how it makes me feel.”

Being confrontational likely won’t get you anywhere. “You can’t confront people to say ‘you are wrong and the way you think is wrong and anyone who thinks like you is wrong’ because people get defensive, and they put up walls of resistance because a lot of them are just trying to work through the issues too,” Devine told Women’s Health. “To be told ‘everything that you’re thinking is wrong’ can close off conversation so I think one of the key issues, is to try to be respectful of each other, to be open to having a dialogue.”

Read the full article at Women’s Health from which this is excerpted. 

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