What causes humans, especially white folks, to become paralyzed in conversations about race?
On the Better Leaders Better Schools podcast Dr. Darnisa Amante, educational and racial equity strategist, talks about the factors, beyond that actual subject matter of race, that makes conversations about race so difficult for many people. She explains, “Learning publicly is very difficult, you have to be vulnerable, you have to be able to acknowledge that you don’t know, you have to be able to say ‘I may or may not feel a sense of belongingness in this conversation’--the minute you begin to know, people begin to hold you accountable to what you know. And it’s very far to fail publicly. And a lot of those conditions are the foundation for paralysis. It’s not actually the difficult conversation, it’s the way we believe we will be perceived as we have the conversation.”
“We are realizing as a community that none of us are truly experts about issues of race, and how do you say that, when we live in a culture where the most important thing for us to be is experts. It’s a deep tension and when you realize that--people are not afraid of change, people are afraid of loss. When you change something, when you change the way you think about something, the way you approach something, you have to give something up. And sometimes we’re more committed to what we have than what’s on the other side of that change...once you meet people at that fear, you can take people to paradise. That’s really what’s on the other side of that change.”