If you haven’t been to one of Mr. Foster’s Tough Talk Luncheons this fall of 2015, you must drop whatever you have planned this Wednesday or Thursday and immediately join us. It is a delightful yet honest gathering of many culturally diverse MSU students and professors all coming together to discuss the tougher parts of the social problems our nation faces. Topics have ranged from mildly tough, like the day we discussed cultural conflicts on the bench in the Major League Baseball, to very tough, like the time we discussed what Ferguson has really taught us. If I have learned anything from attending these talks, it is that honest conversations about race and social problems are both difficult and vital.
Now, here’s a tough admission…
As a white student, I thought it was important to attend. I think Black Lives Matter is a very important movement, yet I always worry about saying the wrong thing. Unlike with other social issues, I don’t speak up about racial inequality in class discussions. This bothers me. I am a sociology major because I want to fight all kinds of inequality, but how can I do that if I am scared to be a part of the conversation?
Just as I feared, at my third Tough Talk, I did say the wrong thing. I upset someone and it felt horrible. I meant well, but for me, being white means that I am not always going to know the wrong thing to say is wrong until it is out of my mouth. This is an unavoidable fact. A much bigger unavoidable fact is that by choosing not to take part in tough discussions, I am part of the problem. And so, I will continue to attend. I will still be there at these Tough Talks with open ears and an open heart.
Please, no matter your gender, age, or race, come join us any Wednesday or Thursday afternoon through the end of November. Bring a lunch, a friend, your past, and your perspective. Never be scared of anything tough.
Given the events at Mizzou and Yale regarding race, the November talk schedule has been UPDATED to focus on these issues!
Wednesday, November 11th @ 12:15p.m., STRO 409 “Mizzou and Yale racial differences”
Thursday, November 12th @ 12:30p.m., STRO 350 “Mizzou and Yale racial differences”
Wednesday, November 18th @ 12:15p.m., STRO 409 “Mizzou and Yale racial differences”
Thursday, November 19th @ 12:30p.m., STRO 350 “Mizzou and Yale racial differences”