A couple of weeks ago, a class discussion led to the topic of racism. It was an emotionally charged situation where everyone was defensive about their experiences and views on racism.
The reason why it was so emotionally charged was because no one was listening to one another. I feel that people seemed threatened when people offer a different view/experience with racism because it calls into question the validity of their own – for example, two black people having completely different experiences or a white person saying that they have experienced racism as well (in the form of reverse racism). So when we start sharing our experiences with racism it becomes a forum where everyone wants to inform/educate everyone else without listening to anyone else.
I know this seems like a hard pill to swallow. Even with my own politics it seems hard because if I give time to a perspective that I think is false, I justify it. But consider perceptions. Perceptions are just as if not more important than reality and they play a big role in how we experience race in this country.