How Do I Talk To My Friends Of Color About Anti-Racism & What Is Happening?
Is there a good way to ask my black friends or friends to share their experiences? Can I talk to my friends of color about what is happening? If so, how?
You can absolutely talk with your friends of color about what is happening. It’s important to have these conversations with the people around us. The line that we want to be careful not to cross is really asking people to share their experience because it’s a heavy, heavy topic.
Think about racism, whether it’s a microaggression or really horrific demonstrations of racism. These are all traumas. The question you should ask yourself before asking your friends about their experience is: Would you ask any of your friends, on the spot, to relive a trauma, whether large or small? Most people would say no. That’s not your intent, to make them relive a trauma.
You want to learn more. You want to be empathetic. You want to hold space for your friends and people you care about. But, asking them on the spot to share the hurtful or traumatic experience is not empathetic of caring. When someone asks a question, most people are not intending to hurt anyone or make them relive the trauma. What you can do is think about it in a different way.
A better approach is to make yourself available to your friends who may have experienced traumas, so when they want to talk about it, they can. You can let your friends know that you’re a safe place for them to share their stories and experiences. Be there for your friends when they volunteer this information on their own, show that you support them by allowing them to talk about their experiences on their own time. When you approach it this way, you may end up in a conversation where the experiences or stories organically come up.
When you want your friends to share their traumatic experience on-demand, it really becomes more about you and less about supporting them
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