Having Difficult Conversations About Race on your College Campus

Reading Crucial Conversations at a Professional Learning Community is a great starting point when the topic of race rears its head. Race is a hot-button topic, and it’s difficult to know how best to approach the subject with others. Worse still, if you aren’t sure how to word things correctly, you can feel a bit out of your depth.

Regardless of who you are, race is not an easy subject to talk about. You could innocently say the wrong word or put something in a manner that offends others. It’s difficult because sometimes you just don’t know the proper way to approach the subject. So, how can you have a conversation about race on campus? 

You Must Acknowledge a Problem Exists and Listen to Other Viewpoints

It’s important to recognize that the problem exists. While you might not fully appreciate how emotionally charged the issue is, you need to understand there are race issues in society. So, when it comes to having a difficult conversation about race, you need to first acknowledge there is a problem. Just by saying you know there is a problem and listening to a person’s point of view can be crucial. 

You do not have to agree with everything they say, but everyone is entitled to their own opinion. Just acknowledging the fact that race is an issue in society is a great starting point. 

Understand from a Minority’s Point of View

You want to have those difficult conversations on campus so that everyone – regardless of their background or ethnicity – can speak openly and honestly about racism. It gives all students the opportunity to get involved and maybe even make breakthroughs for those who don’t believe racism is a problem. Getting the majority to join the conversation is half the battle because many minorities want to talk about racism. 

Diversity isn’t something everyone thinks about or even understands; that’s half the battle. You must understand racism at its core. You need to understand the impact it has on society, individuals, and loved ones. 

Have Open and Frank Discussion

When you learn about diversity and inclusion, it can leave you with dozens of questions, and most aren’t easy to ask. Some students just don’t know who to ask either; however, discussion groups may help you and others ask the tough questions. You could even have one-on-one discussions with people from two different ethnicities or races. 

You can engage in dialogue and ask open-ended questions. It’s a simple way to get a better insight into diversity, inclusion, and racism. The discussion could turn out to be a two-way question and answer session so that there is a contrast. 

Find a Common Ground

People are different – but only slightly. From religion, race, and ethnicity, people are very different from one another. However, take someone’s skin color and religious beliefs out of the frame and people are very much the same underneath. 

What you might not know is that people from a majority race have just as much in common as those of a minority race. These simple commonalities could bring people together. Common interests can promote collaborations and create a stronger society on campus. If it stretches beyond the campus, it makes the world a better place too. 

Talk about Discrimination

Don’t shy away from having those tough conversations on campus. It could break down tough barriers and build a stronger community on campus and in society too.