More thoughts on racePosted: May 17, 2012
Earlier today I shared a pre-written post touching on issues of race. At about the same time as you were reading it, I was at a happy hour with a bunch of strangers, at which I found myself thinking about race in a more immediate setting.
I have much to elaborate on, though more in disjointed thoughts than anything cohesive. Bear with me, please.
1. In my mini book review, I neglected to mention in my complaint regarding a lack of response to the problems of each distinct approach to planning that of course the post-Southwest-rebuilding-disaster (there’s probably a better way to describe that, sorry) approach to planning specifically DID include a direct response to the lack of community input involved in SW. An important thing to mention, and I apologize for having left that out.
2. I’ve generally been hesitant to talk about race, especially in a public forum such as a blog. While I can only speak for myself, I think that it might be a fair generalization to say that many young, open-minded white people like myself worry that we’ll say “the wrong thing,” maybe then look racist, so we don’t say anything and by not talking, we don’t learn, and attitudes that we don’t mean to have get perpetuated.
That said, I would not BE racist than not LOOK racist. I’m trying to get more comfortable talking about issues of race, because let’s face it, sometimes it’s relevant. Other times, not so relevant. But if you NEVER talk about, maybe you subconsciously think it’s relevant where it isn’t, and not relevant where it is? So let me tell you about this happy hour I went to and my thoughts while I was there. (Not ALL my thoughts. Just the ones that relate to race.)
The happy hour was for mentors in the program through which I have the intern that I occasionally mention on twitter. So there were a bunch of people who work for the organization that runs the program, and then there were a bunch of mentors, some of whom might have come together from their offices and therefore known each other in advance, others who were on their own. I am terrible in that type of environment and early on fell into talking with two other women, both of whom work for the internship program.
At some point I looked around the room and noticed:
* I was talking to one white woman and one Asian woman (and I am white).
* There were no other people in the room who weren’t black.
1. Is it problematic* that I noticed the race of everyone in the room?
2. Is it problematic that the three non-black women ended up talking to each other?
3. Is it problematic that I thought it was problematic and therefore specifically made an effort to talk to other people?
What do you think?
*By “problematic” I think I might mean “racist.” Or at least something less insidious than racist but still representing a character flaw.