Talking about Race and Ethnicity

I realized something about myself today.  I realized that I am apprehensive when it comes to talking about race or ethnicity.  I am terrified I am going to insult someone!  See, when I was growing up, the way my culture interacted with racial differences was to not interact with racial differences.  It was too charged.  So now I find myself unable to confidently navigate through discussions in this arena.  There are so many terms flying around about how to refer to different people groups: Hispanic vs. Latino/a, African-American vs. Black, Anglo vs. Caucasian…it is maddening.  I also find myself apprehensive about interacting with people from different cultures.  Not because I don’t want to, but because I feel unequipped.  I was not brought up in a racist family, nor do I feel as though the communities I was influenced by were racist.  It seems as though those who I was influenced by in relation to race and ethnicity were content with overlooking differences thinking that would be the best way to overcome racism.  But it seems to me that this is insufficient.  It seems to me that until we can in fact celebrate these differences we will not be able to overcome racism and ethnocentrism.  And so I will continue to take steps forward in understanding, appreciating, and loving those of my brothers and sisters who bring much to the table through their culture and the way in which they see the world.

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4 Responses to “Talking about Race and Ethnicity”

  1. Arius Says:

    The cultural meme of ethnocentricity is largely due to–as Cornell West would say, willful ignorance. The lack of understanding the historicity of another culture leads to not only cultural, but religious bigotry as well.

    I would say to you, learn as much as you can and never stop. Lethargicness is our only enemy.

  2. Sara J. Green Says:

    My father always said “If you aren’t learning, you’re dead.” I’m up for the challenge. I just hope there will be people who are willing to be patient teachers. Thank you for your comment Arius. I am definitely looking forward to discussions on this topic.

  3. Arius Says:

    Any time Sara. I’m looking forward to more postings from you and don’t worry, if no one else has the patience nor courage to articulate relative issues on race, you always have an ear here;)

  4. Sara J. Green Says:

    Thanks! I appreciate that. : )

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