Uncomfortable Conversations - Questions and Comments

Post questions you struggle to respond to, or responses you have found helpful

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In uncomfortable conversations — particularly, but not exclusively, about race — questions arise that can be hard to answer appropriately and succinctly. You can use this space to post tricky questions you have faced, or share responses to common questions you have found helpful. You can give your name or use a pseudonym.

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  1. Asking for a friend

    I have a relative who loves to complain about “dead beat dads” in Black communities–and says this is the root of many problems, rather than systemic issues. What should I say?

    • Cedar Ridge Community Church

      Thank you for your comment! Does anyone have a response to that? – Cedar Ridge

      • RC

        I have heard people say that, too. I think Emmanuel Acho does a great job of addressing this by talking about the fracture in the Black family resulting from slavery. I had not thought before about how enslaved fathers could only visit their wife and children twice a week (at best), and the long lasting impact of that outrage. He talks about it in this video beginning around the 1:08 mark.

        • Anonymous

          Thank you for this insight. It is very helpful.

      • SC

        There’s also this article and studies that show Black fathers are among the most engaged. https://www.chicagoreporter.com/breaking-myths-about-black-fatherhood-this-fathers-day/

        From the article: Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report, “Fathers’ Involvement with Their Children” (yes, the CDC tracks data & researches topics like this), verify that the majority of black fathers actually live with their children (2.5 million versus 1.7 million who don’t). Furthermore, whether living in the same home or not, black fathers are the most involved of all primary recorded race and ethnic groups.

        Think about the approach you want to take. I think it is good to share info – AND to remember most of us don’t change our minds/beliefs just because someone tells us something or tries to convince us. (Though seeing a different perspective can help.) You might also ask questions from a point of curiosity. How do they know what they know? Where are they getting information? What is their personal experience with that? How can they get a more complete picture? (And you may be able to share alternative data, stories that provide a more well rounded perspective.)

        Hope this helps!

        • Asking for a friend

          Thank you so much for these responses. I now feel more confident in speaking with my relative on this topic!


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