Talking Race in the 21st Century

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11am

Racial relations in this country have certainly come a long way in the past 50 years, but conversations about race can still be uncomfortable and difficult to navigate. This hour, we’ll discuss the conversations we’re having personally, and in the media, about racial divides. Plus, we’ll hear about a new local production about a group of actors struggling with these issues.

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  • gdog64

    Your guest (Rinku Sen) recounted a story about an experience an employee at a car rental agency had. Apparently, the car rental employee is white and would not rent a car to a prospective customer because the prospective customer did not have the required paperwork or documentation. As I understood the story, the prospective customer then went on to assault the employee’s ‘whiteness’ and turn the incident into a racial incident, which annoyed the employee.

    I get the concept that this employee’s experience is not equal to the systemic and maybe life long racism that a black person could experience. However, Rinku completely dismissed the employee’s frustration. In addition, there was no mention at all about how incredibly inappropriate the prospective customer was. If I understand the fact pattern correctly, the employee’s frustration was understandable and his perspective that he experienced racism is absolutely valid.

    There are many, many people who feel frustrated with this concept that their experiences don’t matter and their feelings don’t count. The irresponsible and destructive choice that the customer in the above story made to navigate the encounter into being a racial incident is a choice that exacerbates racism. And Rinku’s default position of dismissing the customer’s accountability is even worse. This a pot-hole in the road of race relations that we need to stop pretending isn’t there. The people who make this choice seem to wear a victim sensibility like it is a comfortable coat.