11 Simple Ways to Break the Rules in a Conversation About Race

 
Photo credit: AOP Photography

Photo credit: AOP Photography

 
 

Conversations about race don’t have to all follow one specific template. Here’s a list of 11 simple ways to break the rules. Use them when you’re ready to reduce frustration and take a step closer to clarity.

  1. Listen.

  2. Respond to what’s being said instead of what you think is being said.

  3. Don’t assume you know what someone thinks because of what they look like.

  4. Don’t assume you know how someone feels because of what they look like.

  5. Try listening again. To the actual words coming out of someone’s actual face.

  6. Don’t dismiss anyone. Ever.

  7. Choose engagement over being right.

  8. Choose engagement over trying to prove a point.

  9. Remember that trying to prove a point is pointless.

  10. Tell the truth of your experiences and the truth of how you feel.

  11. Listen and respond.

Take deep breaths. Tend to your own emotions. Communicate what you need to communicate. Rinse and repeat as needed.