The conversation around race and racism is not an easy conversation. I remember while a Graduate Student at the University of South Carolina, I had the privilege of serving as a Diversity Trainer with S.E.E.D. (Students Empowering and Educating about Diversity). Among all of the training sessions, conversations, one thing that absolutely stands out in my mind were the raw emotions involved in every single conversation. Without fail, the presentation would start, the statistics would be quoted, the breakout groups would commence, the questions would get debriefed…and almost without fail, a question would be asked, a follow-up question to that question, and then a turning point. Working hard to follow the “dialogue rules”, you could feel the temperature of the room change. The tension would thicken and the emotions would intensify. Before we’d end, there would be folks who would shut down, others who would cry, and even at some point some who would leave the room. No matter how you cut it, these were raw emotions.
I thought about these experiences when I read that USA Today and Starbucks had teamed together to create a nationwide discussion around race.
Some debate whether this is effective or not. I won’t get into that, but I will at least commend them for having the discussion. Make no mistake about it this was a risky business decision on behalf of both companies. Very risky! In light of all that’s taking place over the past twenty four months in our country, it is absolutely a relevant topic and a highly emotional topic. Simply, I commend them for having it.
I hope you’ll join the conversation. I hope you’ll think about your own biases and thoughts. I hope you’ll discover your own raw emotions. I hope you’ll challenge yourselves and invite others to the table. Most importantly, I hope you will have the conversation. It’s worth it.