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kaleb breton


Courageous Conversations

Throughout the past two weeks my class and I have participated in a project all
about race and how we discuss it. One of the biggest problems that we as a class have
discovered is that people in general do not wish to discuss this topic. This was not only
a problem for the interviewees but also the interviewers. As being a white male it is
extremely uncomfortable for me and fellow classmate like me to openly talk about this
The reason in a nutshell is not that we dont believe that racial disputes dont
exist or that the topic isnt important, its because of a privilege that almost all races
have over white people in this discussion. I have personally felt that while discussing
this topic my ideals and thoughts were being disregarded by a majority of the class, due
to the sole fact that I was white. It has for me and my fellow students that if youre ideas
clash with a set of strict rules that the majority of the class had set, then our ideas were
disregarded. How ever those rules dont apply to those of other ethnic groups, such as
latinos and african americans.
While normally that rule doesnt apply to big groups of people, there is a diffrent
reasons other are more reluctant to discuss about this topic. The reason being, a clash
of Ideologies. It has come to my attention that a vast amount of the populus thinks that
to solve this problem you dont talk about it or pay attention topics deemed to be of

racial dispute, but instead look at them from a different angle than that. For these
people, talking about race is a clash of ideologies. So by participating in racial
discussions they only further the problem so they stay quite and dont talk. This ideology
did not apply to the people that my partner and I interviewed. Firstly we interviewed an
charming elderly lady at a nearby retirement community. We found that even though she
had grown up in mid west in a predominantly white town and community, she knew what
being in the non-dominant culture felt like. While talking to her, she relayed to her
journeys live across the globe in a multitude of lactation and always she was the odd
one out. This gave her a very unbiased view as living in both ways obviously taught her
a lot. Her main message was that news media has been blowing racial disputes vastly
out of proportion.
This was not just her view how ever. We also interviewed a group of college
student all who were either latino, middle eastern, or a mix of both. They all
unanimously agreed that media was blowing everything out of proportion or even finding
it were it wasnt. There was how ever in both interviews a reluctancy towards the
beginning of the interview. My partner and I found that Towards the beginning of the
interview, the soft questions like: What race are your parents?, and what was the ethnic
makeup of your neighborhood where you grew up? Those question were answered with
relative speed and ease. How ever, when moving on to the questions such as. When
was the first time you really saw race?, and Do you believe in white privilege? Those
questions took a bit of coxing, more for the college student than the elderly lady, to get
solid honest answers. This showed my a lot about how even when discussing this topic
with people who know and are prepared for the questions certain social topics are in

general awkward to discuss with people you dont know. But given the time, the
questioning got easier as they became more acquainted to the questions, and us as
people. I believe it was because of my own race that may have the biggest impact on
that outcome. Being white I think for the college student that made them uncomfortable,
that I was talking about privileges that socially I have over them, I think for a multitude of
reasons. Firstly they may have been surprised by the fact that I was so openly talking
about the subjects as the questions were direct and to the point, which may at first have
been so unsettling to jump straight in. The reason I think that primarily that both the
college students and the elderly lady were reluctant to answer was, that they didnt
know what my views on the topic were.
I think that they didnt know whether I believed that white privilege existed or
didnt exist. That may have caused them to question whether I would be offended or not
by their answers, and how I could have reacted. Or depending on what I believed, how
hostile the encounter could have become looking at how some people react what talking
about race. This could be why in general this is a such an uncomfortable topic. In the
day and age when nobody wants to offend anybody, by saying youre views on what has
shown to be such a violently disputed topic. People think that they can be targeted, by
both other people, and media in general. And in order to protect their social lives for
quite possibly being torn apart to rather stay quiet and not discuss this any further.
No matter, what rview a person has, it is the treat of their life completely changing, all
due to the both people and the media misconstruing their veis. It is evident that all
people should be able to get their views across without the threat of violence being
directed towards them.