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Journal Entry: "Let's talk about Race."

President Barack Obama speech July 19, 2013 Statement on the Zimmerman verdict

“There are very few African American men in this country who haven’t had the experience of being followed when they were shopping in a department store. That includes me. There are very few African American men who haven’t had the experience of walking across the street and hearing the locks click on the doors of cars. That happens to me – at least before I was a senator. There are very few African Americans who haven’t had the experience of getting on an elevator and a woman clutching her purse nervously and holding her breath until she had a chance to get off. That happens often.” ( Obama, 2013)

Race talk is a deliberate action that allows people to talk about their racial experiences to people who may be different from themselves. The microaggressions that President Obama mentions in this statement shows that individuals experience different types of microaggressions based on their daily life experiences and how we can make small changes in our own behavior to fix the status quo racial experience. Unfortunately, many people believe that talking about race has a strong negative attitude because of historical experiences that have shaped our country to become more accepting of people of color, ethnicity, genders, sexual orientation, and disabilities. Race talk pushes the emotional hot buttons that we have learned from history and our life experiences. Feelings and emotions may run the gamut of defensiveness, anxiety, anger, guilt, helplessness, blame, embarrassment, hurt feelings, and invalidation.

The best way to alleviate these feelings is with emotional intelligence. Being aware of our emotions within a difficult situation and using these emotions to direct our reactions in a constructive manner. We all have the ability to get angry, yet it is best in professional, academic, and personal relationships to manage the way we respond. The young candidate for the U.S. Senate in Illinois Barack Obama in 2004 believed in the promise of a more perfect union. He was admitting about giving race talk and the diversity of Americans the opportunity to speak their unfiltered opinions because he understood the raw emotional responses that Americans always have. America is a free country and freedom of speech and assembly are the vital aspects that allow every American the chance to have a voice worth being heard.

“The… claim is further bolstered by numerous expert studies and reports showing that such diversity promotes learning outcomes and prepares students better for an increasingly diverse workforce, for society, and for the legal profession. Major American businesses have made clear that the skills needed in today’s increasingly global marketplace can only be developed through exposure to widely diverse people, cultures, ideas, and viewpoints.US Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor’s writing on the positive benefits of the affirmative action program used by law schools.

Justice O’Connor believed in the unified ideas of all Americans and the aspects that affirmative action programs should be used in law schools because students have a progressive attitude to amending laws to help all citizens. Students of color described a frequent microaggressive themes related to ascription of intelligence, criminality, alien in one’s own land, and denial of racial reality. Student that are in a top school for their major experience lots of back lash for their life experience compared to others that live in a socioeconomically supportive city that is away from their dream career path. In many instances it could be microaggressions that occur based on their emotional, cognitive and behavioral reactions to their own life experience and how their academics affect their long term goals.

Starting out after college as a young professional looking to find their way in life, we go through a lot of hardships that can be magnified by social media. We have to self image ourselves into the person that we think people can easily accept. Oftentimes, that means putting aside our own homegrown ideals and having a open mind about what we can do to change our community for the better. Most people believe in the endless possibilities that we can achieve if we work together. The two historical individuals made their professional career about granting citizens opportunities that can help achieve their life dreams. College is like opening the door to a new world of possibilities because on campus and in our young professional community we see people of all races and socioeconomic backgrounds. People that we don't normally see in our typical 9 to 5 day job or within our own neighborhoods. I've decided to continue my journey working through my Ph. D asperations and professional career path. A big lesson I've learned is that sometimes we have to work with people that we don't like or normally agree with but it is important to work together even if we perceive ourselves to be right.

Love, Peace and Prosperity.

Diwata Thomas

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