Writing Forums

Writing Forums is a privately-owned, community managed writing environment. We provide an unlimited opportunity for writers and poets of all abilities, to share their work and communicate with other writers and creative artists. We offer an experience that is safe, welcoming and friendly, regardless of your level of participation, knowledge or skill. There are several opportunities for writers to exchange tips, engage in discussions about techniques, and grow in your craft. You can also participate in forum competitions that are exciting and helpful in building your skill level. There's so much more for you to explore!

Building a Multicultural Community (1 Viewer)

J

JoyceD

[This is a total re-write from a post under Critique and Advice subject: "<500 word essay, needs title" on March 29.]

What do you think of this variety of statements?: "Racism doesn't exist any more around here." "Just treating everyone like individuals is all we need to end racism." "Talking about race and racism just perpetuates it." "I haven't seen an act of racism for 40 years." "Only whites can believe racism is over, because they're the default race and can't see it." "I'm so tired of talking about racism; I just want to work to end it and not talk about it." "It's not about race; it's about class." "The only 'racism' I've seen is that of blacks accusing me of racism." "I've never received this kind of support from a white male." "It's hard to talk about this, because it brings up a lot of bad memories." "I have learned that I might be a racist." "Most white people haven't a clue what African American culture is." Did some of these statements make you feel uncomfortable? They're all statements I've heard in the past couple of years in a multiracial community discussing "anti-racism" - working to end racism.

Building a multicultural community is hard work when we're trying to be open and honest and create deep relationships with each other. It's easier to leave it than to stay with it. It's uncomfortable. I remember the first time I was challenged to do this work.

A couple of decades ago I ran a child care business. Mothers would beg me to care for their precious little ones even when there was no room for more in my child care. They told me of horrors they had experienced in other child care environments. So I joined the child care association to see if there was something to be done to improve this situation. When I first started attending, it was a very racially diverse group, which I appreciated - a variety of caregivers for a variety of children.

After several months of trying to pitch an advocacy program with no luck, I decided to contact a former child care advocate to ask what I was doing wrong. When I called her, I was in tears with my frustration that I couldn't be successful in doing what was needed to help the children in our community. She told me it wasn't me, it was my race. She said the others were acting racist and asked if I didn't notice that I was the only one like me still attending meetings. I really hadn't noticed. She told me I should leave the organization and join her new one. I thanked her, but refused to leave this organization. I couldn't believe that these women didn't have children in their heart as I did. We were all there because we worked with children and cared about them.

The next time I attended a meeting I looked into the eyes of the women there. I didn't see any hate. Maybe there was distrust. I understood that they may have come from experiences that made it hard to trust white people. I decided to continue to pitch my ideas to them while doing what they would allow me to do - working on an education committee to provide workshops, which was somewhat useful though the ones who really needed it would never attend. It was difficult being patient and yet persistent. I often felt alone in believing that we needed to do more and become a voice for better regulations. I was having a hard time making friends and often wondered if I could really accomplish much in this group. I also believed that if I left because I was the only one of my race there and gave in to the belief that I was powerless because of it, that I would be acting racist.

My work finally paid off when someone stood up and said she believed that I was right and that we should pursue this course of advocacy to help improve the conditions for children in child care settings. With a supportive partner in the work, I finally believed that we could accomplish something. We found out we had a lot in common and became good friends. She told me the negative attitudes against my ideas were due to my race. All I needed was one strong ally and the fight to make needed changes took hold quickly and we were able to accomplish a lot together. The organization grew and became racially diverse again.

Fear and distrust are part of human nature, but I think we need to make an effort to be with people who are different from us. Tolerate the discomfort for a while, even if we feel alone. If we leave to go somewhere better, we can deny that we're being racist, we can say we’re leaving for other reasons or that someone was treating us with racial hate, but that won't begin to solve the problems of our society. We need to be together and work together. We need to get to know each other and talk about things that we might not want to discuss.

Here are some more statements I’ve heard in our anti-racism dialog.: "I can't believe I found a community that I can trust who will work to end racism!" "I was about to give up and now I have hope for the future." Racism? Let's talk about it.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

journyman161

Senior Member
I found this an easy read & very to the point. Not much to change I think, except some layout at the start...

What do you think of this variety of statements?: "Racism doesn't exist any more around here." "Just treating everyone like individuals is all we need to end racism." "Talking about race and racism just perpetuates it." "I haven't seen an act of racism for 40 years." "Only whites can believe racism is over, because they're the default race and can't see it." "I'm so tired of talking about racism; I just want to work to end it and not talk about it." "It's not about race; it's about class." "The only 'racism' I've seen is that of blacks accusing me of racism." "I've never received this kind of support from a white male." "It's hard to talk about this, because it brings up a lot of bad memories." "I have learned that I might be a racist." "Most white people haven't a clue what African American culture is." Did some of these statements make you feel uncomfortable? They're all statements I've heard in the past couple of years in a multiracial community discussing "anti-racism" - working to end racism.
I would do this as...


What do you think of this variety of statements?:

"Racism doesn't exist any more around here.”
“Just treating everyone like individuals is all we need to end racism.”
“Talking about race and racism just perpetuates it.”
“I haven't seen an act of racism for 40 years.”
“Only whites can believe racism is over, because they're the default race and can't see it.”
“I'm so tired of talking about racism; I just want to work to end it and not talk about it.”
“It's not about race; it's about class.”
“The only 'racism' I've seen is that of blacks accusing me of racism.”
“I've never received this kind of support from a white male.”
“It's hard to talk about this, because it brings up a lot of bad memories.”
“I have learned that I might be a racist.”
“Most white people haven't a clue what African American culture is."

Did some of these statements make you feel uncomfortable? They're all statements I've heard in the past couple of years in a multiracial community discussing "anti-racism" - working to end racism.
 

mammamaia

Senior Member
j'man's nailed what i was going to suggest... those quotes need to be separated... and, imo, 'variety of' is a bit odd/off... just 'these' would be more effective, to the point... better still, would be to not ask the question at all... just list the statements and then ask how they made the reader feel!

that preamble weakens the impact of what you're trying to accomplish...
 
Top