I'm interested in studying race relations and racial identity development. It's an uncomfortable and emotional topic, but I'm usually able to start informative conversations with Latinos, Blacks, Asians, and religious minorities (similar topic) about their unique experiences.
When I try to ask questions about the White experience in America, I get three responses:
- They become awkwardly silent.
- They seem to have no idea what I'm talking about.
- They explicitly decline to answer or tell me to stop asking such questions.
A Muslim woman was once telling me about how her faith affected her interpersonal relationships, but she was unable to share any experiences about how her race (White) affected her relationships. Maybe she is a rare individual whose race is kept completely separate from her religious identity by everyone, but I doubt it.
Why is it so hard for me to find White people to talk about how race affects their lives when I live in a diverse city? Why do people tell me to stop talking about this extremely significant and fascinating sociological phenomenon? Do they lack self-awareness? Are they keeping secrets? Both? Something else?