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We've got to have some tough talks—facilitating community dialogue about police shootings

Updated: Nov 17, 2019

Out of the unfolding disputes between police and minority communities in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, St. Paul, Minnesota and Dallas, Texas, my own sense of mission and purpose is being refocused....Doing nothing about the problem of the color line is dangerous for our police officers, for our fellow citizens particularly men of color and for all of us who value human life. I used to consider “The Talk” something that was important only for me to have with my teenage nephews of color. But today even with all of my degrees, awards and professional experiences, I feel The Talk is one I need to have with myself and my other well-“accomplished” men of color friends to remind us that when we’re not dressed in a suit or at least business casual, we are indistinguishable from other men of color to some poorly trained police officers who only see us through distorted media stereotypes….We can no longer participate in the conspiracy of civility wherein we meet and have small talk with each other in the now integrated classrooms, boardrooms, government meetings, restaurants, mess halls, officer’s clubs, private clubs, buses, trains and airlines, ballparks, convention halls, hotel banquet facilities, (churches intentionally excluded here…) and yet we intentionally avoid any candid discussion in these integrated settings about the continuing problem of the color line. To the extent the problem comes up at all, our commitment to decorum and civility lead us to use proxies such as “diversity”, “justice gap”, “poverty” and “homelessness” without any frank acknowledgement of the intersectionality between law and poverty and race and etc. We’ve got to have some tough talks!


Contact DEI Facilitation & Consulting (386 473 1336) to discuss how Mr. Small can transform tragic news into a framework for facilitating honest dialogue, mutual understanding and a basis for true collaboration between stakeholders in your community.


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Ted Small, Principal Facilitator

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