Talking About Race: A Workbook

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Talking About Race


I wanted to let you know what I have been up to.

My book "Talking About Race: A Workbook About White People Fostering Racial Equality in Their Lives" will be out January 15, 2010. You can see the add for it on

On January 21, 2010 I start teaching a course on line based on the book. Log on to

In addition I have been reading some incredible books. Here are four of them:

Between Barack and a Hard Place by Tim Wise
Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome by Joy Degruy Leary, Ph.D
Slavery by Another Name: The Re-Enslavement of Black Americans from the Civil War to World War II by Douglas A. Blackmon
Lies Across America: What Our Historic Sites Get Wrong by James W. Loewen

I am on FB several times a day and it is on FB that you can see videos I have posted and many articles on this subject. In the next two weeks I plan to have quite of few of them linked to this blog site.


Monday, September 28, 2009

Returning to blogging ...

Hi! It has been about a month since my last blog entry. I have been involved in several other projects while mastering Facebook, amazed at the wonderful information exchanged on it! I do plan to return to blogging on a daily basis in mid-October. I hope all is well with you and that you will check in again on the 15th of October. Thank you! Kaolin

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Saturday, August 22, 2009

More about Barbara ...

A friend of Barbara's and her deceased husband had called to stop by to visit her. His name was Harry and he is African American. Barbara knew that this might cause a commotion where she lived, as he'd be picking her up to take her out. So she let him know the kind of place she lived in. (She had not chosen the residence by the way, it was chosen for her, but that is another story!) Harry said that is something he is willing do deal with.

He picked her up. The attendant was clearly uncomfortable. (I was there visiting at the time.) He helped her into the car and off they went. They returned several hours later. I am also there as B. and I had other things to do that afternoon. Harry helped her out of the car and they gave each other a kiss goodbye.

The head of the residence was up in her office and noticed B. return as they have a back entrance that is wheelchair accessible.

Although she knows me and knows I was there she had come out of the elevator with a growl of an expression on her face and her posture was stiff as a board too. She looked to me and said, "I was upstairs and saw them out the window, and wanted to come down to make sure everything was all right."

Now I knew where she was at. I let it go because I also knew Barbara would figure it out and want to deal with it in her own way. B. is the one who is living there and in this woman's care it needs to be worked out between them. Once inside the woman followed us in the elevator and she asked B. "So that is your friend?"

And Barbara answered "He most certainly is." She then proceeded to go to the staff room and to share this interaction with the staff.

How do I know?

Well, I don't. I am drawing an assumption based upon the changes in attitude toward Barbara ever since that day. Before she went out to lunch with Harry the staff were exceptionally sweet and accomodating toward her. They had often told me how wonderful she is.

Since that day Barbara has begun to have a reputation for being "difficult". They told her daughter that she is "getting worse" when she is not and has no signs of dementia. They warned her that if she continues to give them "any problems" she will have to go.

Barbara has decided to withstand the storm. She has no choice but to do that. She is still very happy. None of this has phased her although you cannot help but be aware of the change and it is unpleasant.

Someone at her lunch table said to her, "Is he really your friend"?

To which B. answered, "He most certainly is." "Oh ..." the woman said, and turned away.

She has not spoken to Barbara since.

"I am okay with that" Barbara said to me and added, "She needn't ever speak to me again. That is all right."

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

You Are Never Too Old to Come Out for Racial Equality!

I have been away from blogging for several weeks and catching up on reading.

What have I been reading? "Between Barack and a Hard Place" and "White Like Me" by Tim Wise. Both books are thoroughly engaging.

I have found myself saying "Yes!" "Yes!" to so many points Wise makes throughout each book.

My own book will be out on January 15, 2010 titled "Let's Talk about Race: A Workbook about White People Fostering Racial Equality in their Lives". There has been much behind the scenes work to do.

I have received so much support for this effort that I am amazed and very happy about it! In the next few months I will be telling you more about this.

In the news so much is going on that is deeply disturbing to me. On Facebook I have a great many videos about the highlights. In several days I will update you on what is going on. But I will add this today:

I have a friend who is white and she is ninety years old. Until recently Barbara (this is not her real name) shied away from talking about race however B. has shared some alarming stories with me from her childhood. The other day she proudly came forward about her position regarding racial equality in the community she lives in. It was a risky and courageous act. Barbara lives in a controlled environment and the people who run it and live in it are all white. So she stepped up and out even though she is wheelchair bound and has been for five years. No matter their reaction she will not be able to walk away from it and no one is more aware of that than Barbara.

The result of her honesty and refusal to keep her views hidden from others has caught the attention of the woman who runs the place.

She often looks at B. with hostility but Barbara simply smiles all the more and when she does she does so with integrity and happiness.

Barbara's face literally glows and the serenity she feels about her decision to share her views is transparent to everyone around her.

It has been wonderful to witness her "coming out" about her views regarding racial equality. The liberation from the silence she was trained to believe was more appropriate wore itself out; the
"gift" of acceptance from some family members and peers that was simply a bribe to encourage her to be quiet wore itself thin.

Barbara has come into her own and couldn't suppress it any longer. This served as a reminder to me, that it is never too late to let race matter, even if it is a social construction (which we know it is) we can choose self-expression over repression at any age.

Monday, August 3, 2009

A Few Words about Race/ism today.

I just wanted to say hello.

After the meeting at the White House with Dr. Gates, Detective Crowley, V.P Biden and President Barack Obama, I was clearly disappointed with the outcome. Of course this is not to say that everyone was. But I took issue with meeting over a "beer" and outside instead of inside, the photo shoot beforehand and the rather weak postures of each person as they stepped away from the table.

It did not lend itself toward a "teachable" moment, although so many teachers are absolutely brilliant and dedicated that I do expect many will maximize on this opportunity to draw as much from it as humanly possible.

The drinking seemed highly inappropriate to me at the time and in retrospect I still believe that it was. Alchohol of any kind under such circumstances was a poor choice in my book. I am still not over that.

But I am moving on in the full recognition that nothing has been resolved to my satisfaction as a result of that meeting.

I have been watching "Reclaiming the Dream" on CNN. This program is rich in its presentation and the panel's dedication and involvement in the black community. In case you are unaware of the dilemma's facing our children where race/ism is concerned today, tune in as a great deal can be learned from it.

More later,


Saturday, July 25, 2009


I have been away from LTAR but not for long. As always, there is so much going on. The incident with Prof. Gates coupled with Pres. Obama's comment, which I believe was misconstrued, is getting sorted
out by the President as I write. Hopefully President Obama will prevent even greater manipulations of race from taking place this week. Good luck President Obama!

But I have noticed something else which is bothering me and wonder if you have too? Many journalist's are referring to President Obama as Mr. Obama. Once chosen to comment or ask their press questions during a televised conference, they often say, "Yes, sir?" Is that the appropriate protocal? Isn't President Obama the way - the only way the President of the United States should be addressed?

On many news programs reporters are also doing this, especially those in the local news stations. I find this deeply disturbing and wonder at how one can make the same mistake several times over with no one in these stations stepping up and correcting them? Is it a conscious or subconscious omission on their part? Is it too hard for them to say "President Obama"?

I just wonder as I do not remember that being the case with other presidents.

You may know more about it than I do. I'd like to know what you think.

Racially-speaking my blog is about day-to-day experiences with racism and how we deal with them. It may be time to record who says what, when and where and start to send emails to the stations asking for a review of the proper greeting the President of the U.S.A is supposed to be getting. Exactly how one in the business and on the air is supposed to be referencing the President
while discussing the President with their associates needs to be corrected.

On another note , this week I came to the realization that empathy in intimate relations with one another is key in my relationships. But it is as important to receive empathy as it is to give it away, otherwise what is the point?

What do we have to offer one another as we struggle for racial equality together, if we do so without being empathetic to one another's experiences? We all know that relationships often dissolve when there is no equality within them. But what constitutes equality in your relationships? I had begun re-evaluating what I believe constitutes equality in mine these past few weeks, and have made the necessary changes in my life to be sure there is a balance in my relationships, a give and take I can rely upon.

Let me know what you consider to be most important to you regarding the issues I have presented here today and thanks so much for your time.


Saturday, July 11, 2009


Welcome to LTAR which stands for Let's Talk About Race.

On the LTAR blog site we will discuss our experiences with racism and what we are doing to foster racial equality in our lives today.

For example Liza, a white friend of mine, recently noticed that on the page of her business website she had very few photos of families of color. It happened to have many photos of European white families instead. Liza realized that this misrepresented her intent as her clients are more diversified and she wanted to keep it that way.

So, what did she do about it? Liza contacted her website host and had more photos of families of color added on it. Once they were added on the photos represented families as Liza had wanted it to, it also let those who visit her site and explore her business know that her clients are of color and white.

This is just one of many examples of the steps one can take to be sure they are promoting their own desire for racial equality in their life. It happened to be a business example but of course in our private lives there are many things one can do to ensure racial equality within our own families, schools, churches and communities. The LTAR blog invites you to share your own stories about this subject.

There are many of us who come across experiences like Liza's every day. We may have an opportunity to speak up when we experience racism and yet remain silent. We may have an opportunity to take an action that fosters racial equality yet remain neutral or even passive letting an opportunity go by that would match our ideals when the subject is race/ism.

Why? There are many reasons why and LTAR will examine them.

How? LTAR invites you to talk about what your experiences with racism have been and may be today.

The LTAR blog is for those of you who would like to find solutions to problems regarding race/ism in your life today.

LTAR is a place where we can share our concerns and present options so those problems might be solved.

I look forward to hearing from you about your own experiences, concerns and solutions regarding this subject. If you have any questions about this blog include them too!