Saturday, August 1, 2015

Cross-racial Conversations

I am reading a helpful book called  
Waking Up White and Finding Myself in the Story of Race by Debby Irving. 

It is giving me information I need to know about white privilege and more.  I recently read below in this book:

Cross-racial relationships are essential to racial healing.  The kind of contact and connection they engender is indeed the antidote to the centuries-old pattern of segregation and avoidance.  But it doesn't work without understanding and braving the Zap factor, an important step in the process of building trust. (page 81)

Irving describes the "Zap factor" in chapter 14 as the uncomfortableness we feel when doing something outside of our comfort zone. She named it after the zap a collared dog gets when it goes near the boundaries of its electric fence. Due to the "Zap" we receive when talking outside of our comfortable boundaries, we don't bother to do it...such as talk with people about race.  Especially those of another race.

She explains
...white people's casual ignorance about skin color privilege has insulted and alienated people of color. Part of the power differential is that white people have the choice, the power, to ignore race and racism. I can choose not to have a single cross-racial relationship. I can choose not to talk about race. And I can choose not to learn the beliefs, customs, traditions, and values of racial groups other than my own.

Not so for people of color, who can't escape knowing what life looks like in White Land. White life is everywhere... For survival purposes people of color must learn the dominant culture, the white culture, in order to survive.  Knowing how to essential. (page 79, I did some clipping to shorten, please read the book!)

I can appreciate what Irving is talking about. I am trying to talk about race more even though it is difficult and I feel the uncomfortableness, the Zap

I would like to be a part of a mixed-racial group discussing race. Want to join me? 

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