That`s why our agreements help us to move to a place where we all – especially those with the least experience in conversations about race – have the ability and patterns to handle racy conflicts with increasing lightness and reflection. These abilities help eliminate shame to eliminate concepts and language that are new or stimulating compared to previous world ideas. Especially for whites, who often don`t believe they should have these conversations, our agreements offer scaffolding until these skills take shape. The conversation about race is really a conversation about love. It often makes people uncomfortable using the word “love” because the word “race” often evokes images of struggle and injustice; But that`s exactly what it is. It is not a romantic kind of love; Instead, it is a love for oneself, a love for others and a love for the types of relationships necessary to honor all humanity. To talk about race with ourselves and with others, we must be ready to open ourselves, first to ourselves, then to others. We must be ready to unearth what we believe we know about ourselves, and then we must allow ourselves to heal, to have humility, to ask forgiveness and to develop the strength to offer grace. The agreements are simple: stay engaged. Tell me the truth.
There are complaints. Thanks to the others, thanks to ourselves. Follow the 24-48-hour rule. Note the participation patterns. Respect confidentiality. Recognize intent against effects. Consider performance dynamics. Recognize the danger of a single story. Equity Lab believes in equity in all differences and variations. We recognize, however, the particular distinction that race has historically had throughout the world and in particular in the United States of America.
And because we recognize the potential of this story, to repeat ourselves, we choose first to approach the race and keep the race at the center of our work. We believe that if race can be ignored, avoided or referenced with false equivalencies, this will be the case. However, the agreements and discussions they have promoted help lay the groundwork for stronger work and system change. Agreements don`t just have a place in our more formal conversations about race; they can be taken to the dining table, to an ecclesiastical assembly, to the meeting rooms where you are seated and to the buses you drive. You are a guide to build not only your individual skills, but also the community will engage differently on difficult and extremely important topics such as race, class, gender, privileges and power. In The Equity Lab, there is a reason why we start all the discussions we have with the so-called REDI (Race, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion) agreements. These agreements shape the conversation and form the backbone of racial competence and personal transformation.