Race 2012 – How Can We Get Along if We Don’t Talk?

Created by Totsy Mae for the Race 2012 Blogging Project.

Have you been following the Race 2012 Blogging Project? Well, let me tell you, there’s a conversation going on in those posts. A conversation that has been both eye opening and revealing. Candid and personal. I have been amazed by some of the discussion that has come out of this project.  Kudos to all the bloggers who have been participating, and to all who have taken time to read these blogs, reflect on them and contribute to the conversation. I value what you’re doing, and am in awe of your courage to come forward, and say,

“Yes, I will talk about race in this election year. Yes, I will speak up and share my experience, my frustrations and my beliefs. My hopes, too.”

If you haven’t yet read these posts, visit the Race 2012 Blogging page on this site for a complete list. It is worth your time. I want to particularly thank Totsy Mae for creating an exquisite work of art just for the blogging project. Totsy, you are one talented lady!

The bloggers’ posts have been so good, it’s not enough for me to just list them all. Which is why I’ve gathered some of my favorite excerpts to share with you. These quotes, included here, truly resonate for me, and I hope they give you some food for thought:

I felt like I was in the minority for the first time in my life, with my trip to Egypt, my love of a young Arab man, who just happened to be Muslim…I saw things a little differently and…grew angry as people were screaming about immigration, as if the only immigrants in America were Latinos – what I wanted to scream from the top of my lungs was that we were all hurting in some way due to the cultural misunderstandings.”Destination Unknown

“I tickled Ruby’s back while answering her question about what might have happened to her had she stopped to drink out of the wrong water fountain during the Jim Crow era. That pebble was more like a river rock. And I’m not going to lie: I feel like there’s an anchor weight attached to my heart every single time I lift that veil.”Thematically Fickle

“I can’t begin to tell you how many times people have tried the old post-modern ‘race is not an issue’ argument since the president took office. But as a person of color, I know what is not said is often much louder than what is said.”BoomerWizdom

“The worst thing to do with a problem is to hide it. It festers, grows more powerful. The more we speak up about what is wrong in the world, and suggest how to makes shifts, the more chance we have of digging ourselves out of this mess!” Heal Now and Forever Be in Peace

“As we come to the inevitable conclusion that the issue of ‘race,’ seems to be the proverbial ‘elephant in the room,’ we try to find common ground, so we can talk about issues that matter to us.”Meditating Mummy

“It’s hard to have an honest conversation because many times we’re not being honest with ourselves about race. Sometimes we know we’re being dishonest, other times, we aren’t aware of it. It’s hard. But we all, regardless of color, have to keep trying.”She’sWrite

“Undoubtedly, the word ‘race’ has taken on a much broader meaning in this election.  Rather than dancing around this fact, I’d like to think…we can move the conversation forward in authentic and meaningful ways.  The perspectives of common, everyday folk are intriguing and varied, but are rarely heard above the din of endless news spin, popular opinion, and media sound bytes.”SomerEmpress

“We might not be Racist, we might not be a raging flaming outright Bigot but these are very different animals from carrying that seed of fear and that ember of racial bias. We are by nature Xenophobic; we fear what is different from us.”QBG Tilted Tiara

I was raised by parents who taught me that everyone was equal. That your race meant very little in the scheme of things. That your race might define your culture, and that’s great, but it would never define your abilities or character.”By My Ink

And, one more:

“So, you think not talking about race makes it all better? How does that happen? Has it been working for you? Why do you think folk want to have this conversation?…If I may ask a handful of other questions, can I ask you what folks mean when they say we want to take our country back? Why are they so angry when they say that? Do you feel the same way? Do you think there’s a racial divide in America? You don’t see one? Do your friends who don’t look like you see one? You just want us all to get along? How can we get along if we don’t talk?” Totsy Mae who wrote a post that invited her readers to answer a series of questions—and the response was off the hook!

The documentary, Race 2012: A Conversation About Race & Politics in America, airs tomorrow night on PBS (check local listings), along with the next presidential debates. I encourage you to tune into both!

44 thoughts on “Race 2012 – How Can We Get Along if We Don’t Talk?

  1. Hey Monica, thanks for doing this. I had forwarded your email to other bloggers and planned to participate but things got a little crazy.
    This is a topic I feel very strongly about. I’m not sure why we’re so afraid to have that open and honest discussion that is so urgently needed. We missed a great opportunity during the last campaign – remember that speech then candidate Obama made in Philadelphia? Wonder how things would have turned out if it had happened? As much as the president has not wanted race to be the only thing that defines him, it is how he’s defined and we see now that race isn’t going away. Not talking about it isn’t making it disappear. The question is how we can have the discussion in a safe, non-confrontational way, maybe like the courageous way SA faced their wrongs via the Truth & Reconciliation Commission.

    • I’m sorry you weren’t able to participate by writing a blog post, but I really appreciate you taking the time to sharing my email with others. Anyway, glad you were able to participate by leaving you comment. I hope you’ll read some of the other posts and comment their, too, if you haven’t already. Thanks!

  2. “It’s hard to have an honest conversation because many times we’re not being honest with ourselves about race. Sometimes we know we’re being dishonest, other times, we aren’t aware of it. It’s hard. But we all, regardless of color, have to keep trying.” – She’sWrite

    So true. The biggest question is when did we start being dishonest? When did we start lying to ourselves about race?

    • Good question, Julene. But I think in politics, we’ve always expected deceptiveness. Often we speak in cryptic words, like, “taking the country back,” or how if you don’t agree with a particular point of view you can be deemed, “un-American.” Words matter.

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  5. I’ve enjoyed reading all of these posts. Thank you for bringing awareness, knowledge, & insight to all of us.
    I love Tot’s painting above. You guys need to send it to Mr. Obama. Xxx

    • Kim, Tot’s amazing. She has such a big heart. I asked her to be a part of this project, and she never hesitated. I then asked if she’d create a painting for it, and she responded immediately with a resounding YES! No matter what she has going on in her life–and I imagine she has lots–this project is clearly important to her and she has done a tremendous job with her posts and art. I have the utmost respect and admiration for our Totsy.

  6. I need to read some other blogs involved in this project. I think it’s been a positive and enlightening experience. It does seem challenging to keep abreast of the bloggers involved in this project. Thank you for hard work. My head would be spinning right about now but looking at the excerpts from those other blogs, it’s worth it.

    Will be winding down late tonight and watching both the debate and special into the wee hours of the morning.

    • Thank you, Totsy! It sure has been exciting to see all the posts, and also challenging to keep it all afloat, making sure none fall through the cracks. I rely on you for great content, so I hope to do all I can to make sure everyone knows about this great work. I can’t thank you enough for taking part!

  7. Monica, I definitely have to check out the posts in this project. I’ve read Totsy’s and Jodi’s and they have been very thought provoking. I’m not one to stay abreast of the political scene but nevertheless, acknowledge its importance. I’m definitely going to have to click on the link you provided and read more! Thanks for sharing the wonderful highlights of some of these posts! 🙂

    • Bella, I’m so glad you’re finding this project of interest. Politics is the anchor, but race is the core and filters through just about everything we do in this country, and how decisions are made. Not just politics but it’s a matter of our culture, too. So I’m glad we’re having this conversation.

  8. Monica, thank you for addressing “the elephant in the room” and for providing a forum for people to express their thoughts and feelings, whatever they may be, in a non-threatening, non-judgmental manner!

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  10. Great stuff. I have to add that I was one of those kids turned adult
    that was somewhat ignorant to racism because it was never talked about throughout my upbringing. So I went through some of my adulthood feeling like there was something wrong with me. Some minorities never come into awareness even though racism is staring them in the face. It’s that sense of if we ignore it, it will go away. Thanks for this post.

  11. These discussions and blogs are so very important, thank you for facilitating and inspiring Monica. I am reading a book about the First Amendment that explores how tenaciously our right to free speech and free press was fought for and how it has developed into the extraordinary and unique freedom we have today. Your blog has made me think that not only is this a right, but it is an obligation to talk about important issues and not hide from our fears. This is what makes us truly free.

  12. Monica,
    Thanks for the inclusion in this post, which is also very thought-provoking. So far, this has been a wonderful project. It has challenged me to question my own perceptions about race, as well as my own hang-ups about having the many resulting discussions. I am being enlightened as I read the other personal accounts and trajectories on race in America. Thanks again.

    • As nice as it is to blog about fun, everyday stuff, once in a while it’s reward to push the envelope, test our limits, and write about more meaningful subjects, like this one. Thank you for participating!

  13. Thank you so much for the mention Monica. This is such an important issue, the more we talk about it the better off we are, it means we want conversation, we welcome disagreements and we want to work together. Without hope and change, nothing will get done.

  14. “Yes, I will talk about race in this election year. Yes, I will speak up and share my experience, my frustrations and my beliefs. My hopes, too.”

    Reminds of Jesse Jackson quote of at least 20 years ago. He was consoling students in Atlanta shootout at high school and said words to the effect “As a people we must be driven not by our fears but by our hopes. “

  15. Thanks for the tag, Monica, it has been amazing to be a part of! That painting is amazing, the white woman looks so dominating. We are sisters, let’s start acting like it! Can’t wait to watch it!

  16. Thank you for the blog summary. It is a great conversation and an important one. It’s too easy to assume that because “I have a friend/acquaintance/co-worker of a different race than me and we get along” means “I don’t participate in racism.” Or even worse, “I can’t see it so it must not exist.” We MUST keep talking.

  17. Excellent post Monica.

    I can’t for the life of me remember who said the following “The thing we should fear most is fear itself!!”

    Anybody who looks no further than the colour of a persons skin is as shallow as a puddle of water.

  18. Great post Monica. We need to pay attention to each other, not just have knee jerk reactions to the opinions of other people. It is through closer examination that we will open our own eyes a little further.

    • Thanks, Renee! When I first started this, I wasn’t sure how it would turn out or even if anyone would want to take this on. I’m thrilled with the results and the passion these bloggers have shown. It’s been an amazing project!

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