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A Conversation about Race

I would like to converse with you. This might sound like a strange way to start a potentially emotionally charged discussion on racism, but I feel that this is the only way to reach out, reach in, and reflect on the way that societies around the world racialize people. Now, the process of racialization (or the creation of racial categories) can originate from a biological, cultural, or ethnic premise. Contrary to assumptions about consistency, race means different things in different places; plus, someone can be one race in one community or country, and another one halfway around the world. Regardless of the social construction of race, race, as a term and a concept, means something to nations, communities, and people. Racism, the manifestation of the belief that one racial group is culturally, politically, or intellectually superior to another, can manifest itself through individual acts of discrimination or even institutional doctrines or policies that perpetuate the sense that one racial group should have power over another.

But not here; and not in this community.

Here, in this community, bonds have formed across racial, cultural, and national boundaries. Here, in this community, friendships have blossomed, love has formed, and families reach out to each other to steady the rockiness of life. Here, in this community, you matter. Who you are matters. You matter not so that anyone can determine if they should have power over you. You matter simply because you are you.

But who are you? When you look in the mirror, who stares back at you with eyes full of wonder, mystery, and knowledge? If you had to describe yourself, what community, race, or cultural terms would you use for yourself? When other people or institutions in the community describe you, what racial terms do they give for the complexity of your lived experience? Do you use the same descriptions as others? If not, why do you think there are differences?

Let this moment be one where you narrate your story. Tell me about you.
 
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