Howard Schultz’s best intentions and bungling attempts aside, most white people want no part of the conversation about race. We don’t want it with our baristas, our neighbors, our spouses, or anyone really. We don’t quite know what do each February during Black History Month. For most white people that’s Martin Luther King Jr. awareness month with a nod to Harriet Tubman and not much sense of any other aspect of black history or culture. The ongoing tensions surrounding the deaths of Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, and so many other incidents are more than most of us know what to do with (if we want anything to do with them at all).
Most of us grew up unaffected by the racial divide, or at least unaware of how it affected us. Now, though, the divide has been brought to us and we’re at a loss. We don’t want that conversation. We’re uncomfortable with it. Our responses tend to fall into two main groups.
Group 1: Don’t want to talk about race
Group 2: Don’t know how to talk about race