Race at the Dinner Table, Or in the Cafeteria : Blog Of The Nation Conversations about race are popping up all over the blogs and op-ed pages, and at many dinner tables... How do you talk about race?
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Race at the Dinner Table, Or in the Cafeteria

Race at the Dinner Table, Or in the Cafeteria

Listen to this 'Talk of the Nation' topic

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/88677740/88679501" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

I went to a high school that was predominantly white. There were maybe five black kids in the entire school, a couple of Latinos, and a handful of Asians. Race was rarely a topic of conversation among friends, except maybe in history class when we discussed race relations during the 50s and 60s.* It wasn't until college, at Berkeley, where the population was much more diverse, that I began to really discuss race with my friends and family in a concrete way. We talked about reverse racism, the black tax, white guilt, and the list goes on. As a white woman, many of my comments about race were marred by hedges and uncertainty. Sometimes I'd even couch my point of view in humor, and I was insufferably PC for about a two-month period during my sophomore year. Barack Obama's speech in Philadelphia this week has launched an open conversation about race in many circles that we haven't seen since, arguably, the O.J. Simpson trial... or the L.A. riots. Today we want to talk about how we talk about race. Is race something you talk about at home, at work, or school? Do you word things differently depending on who you're talking to? Do you find that conversation about race generates resentment or anger? Do you feel excluded from the discussion, or too uncomfortable to participate? Tell us, how do you talk about race?

* I guess when you're in a homogenous environment, it's easy to miss (or ignore) issues that tend to come up in more diverse settings.