Conversations about systemic racism are difficult. Finding the right words to communicate about race-related issues between white and black people requires touching on foundational flaws in society that have existed for centuries.
Fritz François, MD, chief medical officer and patient safety officer at NYU Langone, and Mark B. Pochapin, MD, vice chair of the Department of Medicine and director of gastroenterology and hepatology, have written an op-ed for New York Daily News to highlight some of the things to keep in mind if you are white and trying to have these conversations.
Asking a black person questions like “Are you OK?” and “What can I do?” is not helpful. Rather, it is important to acknowledge the feelings they have, and that there are things we can do every day to help achieve real change. Calling the recent protests into question, or asking why protesters are not social distancing belittles the importance of the movement. Peaceful and safe protests are important at this time, and participating in them, while remembering to protect yourself and others, is a priority.
These conversations are difficult, but necessary. Issues of race have long been overlooked, and black people are still suffering as a result.
Read more from the New York Daily News.