Confronting racism is not about the needs and feelings of white people
Illustration: Mikyung Lee for Guardian US
I was leaving a corporate office building after a full day of leading workshops on how to talk about race thoughtfully and deliberately. The audience for each session had been similar to the dozens I had faced before. There was an overrepresentation of employees of color, an underrepresentation of white employees. The participants of color tended to make eye contact with me and nod – I even heard a few “Amens” – but were never the first to raise their hands with questions or comments. Meanwhile, there was always a white man eager to share his thoughts on race. In these sessions I typically rely on silent feedback from participants of color to make sure I am on the right track, while trying to moderate the loud centering of whiteness.