S02E19 – Truth and Reconciliation on Race

In this episode of Finding Common Battle Grounds, all three of us wrestle with how to discuss race and racism. We agree that discussions about race are fraught because people equate accusations of racism with evaluations of the morality and self-worth of the individual, particularly if someone is called a racist rather than calling their idea, statement, or perspective racist. To that end, we agreed that discussions about race and racism have to focus on ideas and perspectives rather than on whether an individual is a racist. We also discuss the idea that calling an idea or perspective racist doesn’t mean that perspective is at the extreme end of racism, leading to the notion that racist ideas fall along a continuum, from not at all racist to extremely racist. Ideas need to be evaluated on such a scale (e.g., a 10-point scale) in order for us to have reasonable conversations about race and racism. We also discuss the idea that claims of racism tend to elevate someone to a moral high ground, which is problematic in a lot of ways. We think we made headway on this issue and can move forward with discussions about race and racism, but we’ll see whether that is the case.

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