by Aneena Patel (SAR '17) and President of Kappa Delta Sorority Last winter,
A Discussion on Race
Strange to see a message from my younger self:
I have tried – for a long time – to stay out of the conversations on races. Time is up! I’m starting it in a BU Today POV piece in their March 27th edition (let’s hope I’ve got the courage to finish). Do me a solid – take a deep breath and join me on that afternoon – for an online conversation about race in our lives.
The conversations I like best are the ones that find me. They often are red hot, dripping with sweat, loud, full of questions, quarrelsome, loaded with doubts, and colored in deep respect. I love the conversations where the intense reaction cuts right through me. Better yet, I appreciate the conversations that settle upon me before I have to have them.
Conversation is not so simple. But shouldn’t it be? It’s messiness, complexity, and un-predictableness makes conversation hard – and enjoyable, too (sort of like jazz).
I want the conversations that makes me work. I struggle for balance in my conversations. I know that I’m less worried than most about being offended by a comment. I also tend to be less culturally sensitive when I speak.
Because I don’t demand rigid language in my conversations, I work with others in the conversation to negotiate and come to terms with our reactions. I realize that my words and manner of discussion might touch someone else’s nerve (because of the breadth of our sensitivities).
I put in the work because my least favorite conversation is the one that is fraught. Let’s jump into the fraught-ridden conversations – especially the one about race. The public conversation on race forces me to take personal risks. It also makes me go to an extreme about structuring my life around personal sensitivities – others and mine. (I usually keep my mouth closed or make sure that what I say is meaningless, yet polite.). I realize that if I continue to be so rigid about how I set up my conversations on race that I am limiting myself – and my ability to engage ideas and people in deeper and real ways. So, now I’m done.
Let’s discuss race – not about each other or over each other, but with each other. Let’s have a quick and meaningful conversation, online. I’m starting the conversation here. After you’ve read it, breathe in. Breathe out. And, jump into the live discussion at the bottom of the page on March 27, 2014, at 1 p.m. – I’ll save you a space.
Catch you there?