JUDY WOODRUFF: Later this month, Starbucks will close its more than 8,000 coffee shops for an afternoon of anti-bias training. The aim is to raise their sensitivity of the employees around race and ethnicity, after last month's episode at a Philadelphia shop where the police were called about two black men simply sitting and waiting. Talks on the subject are always sensitive. And tonight, writer Ijeoma Oluo shares her Humble Opinion on why that talk can be so fraught, even with one's own mother.
IJEOMA OLUO, Author, "So You Want to Talk About Race": Here's the thing about my mom. My mom, who is white, is the kindest, most generous person I have ever known. But she's also exhausting. She's a bundle of whimsy and emotion, and she doesn't always think before she speaks. So, when she left me a voice-mail saying that she'd had an epiphany about race, and I should call her back right away, I really, really, really didn't want to do that. Don't get me wrong. I think I talk about race every day, as an activist and educator.
And while I had noticed that my work on race had started to build some awkward distance between my mom and me, I still didn't want to talk about race with her. I mean, she's my mom. It's personal and awkward, like talking to your mom about sex. Turns out I didn't need to worry about whether to call her back, because, like many moms, she immediately called me back, and kept calling until I answered the phone. The conversation was as bad as I had feared, maybe worse. She'd made a joke at work that had to do with race, not a racist joke, but one that was more a joke for the black community. And a black colleague had challenged her: "What do you know about being black?" Well, my mom was pretty indignant at first. "He doesn't know me. He doesn't know I raised three black kids." I was cringing as she said this to me. Had she not read my work? And then came her epiphany. She realized that her co-worker must face so much racism as a black man that he couldn't tell who the good white people were and that, if she were in his shoes, she'd probably be angry all the time too. That was this whole epiphany. She had decided that, the next day, she was going to march over to her co-worker and explain that she had raised three black kids, so she got it. I literally shouted "Nooooo," like people do in action movies when they try to stop their friends from getting into the car that is rigged with explosives. Then I took a deep breath. I tried to explain that being a white woman who loves black people, who has even given birth to black people, is still very different from living as a black person and experiencing firsthand the full force of a white society every day of your life. She asked if she at least got credit for doing black hair for all those years. I said no. It was a long conversation, and, oh, was it painful. But it opened up a new way of seeing each other. So, as awful as it was, I'm glad the conversation happened. It is in our conversations about race and racism that we find understanding, empathy, and opportunities to make real change in our day-to-day lives. Start talking. More importantly, start listening. It is not always pleasant to talk about race. In fact, it almost never is. But it is worth it.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Ijeoma Oluo.
1.a bundle of 一捆
I remember Mickey as a bundle of fun, great to have around.
2.as bad as 一样糟糕
It's a bit like going to the dentist; it's never as bad as you fear.
3.to do with 有关
This has nothing to do with you.
4.all the time 总是
All the time I was blind to your suffering.
5.get credit 得分
You must pass the examination to get credit for the course.
伊吉玛·奥洛，作家，《So You Want to Talk About Race》：这是我妈妈的情况 。我的母亲是白人，是我所认识的最善良、最慷慨的人 。但她也让人筋疲力尽 。她爱异想天开，富于感情，说话前不过脑子 。所以，当她给我电话留言，说她对种族有了一种顿悟后，我应该马上打电话给她，我真的，真的，真的不想那样做 。别误会我的意思 。我想我作为一个活动家和教育者，每天都在谈论种族问题 。当我注意到我在种族方面的工作，已经开始在我和妈妈之间树立起了一些尴尬的距离时，我仍然不想和她谈论种族 。我是说，她是我妈妈 。这很个人，很尴尬，就像和你妈妈谈论性 。事实证明，我不必担心是否给她回电话，因为她和很多妈妈一样，立刻给我打了电话，一直打，一直打，直到我接电话 。这次谈话正如我所担心的一样糟糕，也许更糟 。她在工作中开了一个和种族有关的玩笑，不是种族歧视那类的玩笑，但对于黑人群体而言，这可不是玩笑那么简单 。一位黑人同事向她提出质疑：“你了解黑人吗？”嗯，我妈妈起初很生气 。“他不了解我 。他不知道我抚养了三个黑人孩子 。”她对我说这话时，我气坏了 。她没有读过我的作品吗？接着她顿悟了过来 。她意识到她的同事，作为一名黑人，必须终日面对种族主义，他已经无法分辨谁是好的白人，如果她处在他的位置，她可能也会一直生气 。这就是整个顿悟 。她决定，第二天，她要去找她的同事，解释她已经养了三个黑人孩子，所以她懂得 。我真地大声喊了“不”，就像人们在动作片中试图阻止他们的朋友踏进装有爆炸物的汽车 。然后我深深地吸了一口气 。我试图解释，作为一名爱上黑人的白人妇女，甚至生下了黑人，她的生活仍然与一名黑人的生活截然不同，后者每天都直接经受着来自白人社会的全部力量 。她问她这些年来自己一直保持黑发，总能得点分数吧 。我说不能，这是一段漫长的对话，哦，真的很痛苦 。但它为我们开辟了一种新的看待彼此的方式 。所以，尽管很糟糕，但我还是为拥有这次谈话感到高兴 。在我们关于种族和种族主义的对话中，我们发现了可以利用理解、移情和机会，使我们的日常生活发生真正的变化 。开始对话 。更重要的是，开始倾听 。谈论种族并不总是令人愉快的 。事实上，几乎从来不会愉快 。但这值得 。