Participants responded by sharing stories of experience racism in Hartford, Connecticut, and other Northern states, including one guests describing that though she grew up in the South, she experienced "real racism" when she moved to Connecticut. She noted that though symbols like the Confederate flag are prominent in the South, segregation based on race and class is a defining feature of Northern cities and towns.
Matt Davies, June 22, 2015, Newsweek
The conversation shifted to discuss white supremacy and white privilege and the ways in which white individuals can often ignore the realities faced by people of color. One such reality is the violence, whether by police or by white supremacists like Dylan Roof, towards people of color. Participants also noted the unfair burden and assumption often placed on people of color to forgive attackers, whether they be Dylan Roof in Charleston or Darren Wilson in Ferguson. One participant proclaimed, "I am so sick of being expected to forgive after something like this happens. Did anyone ask white parents to forgive after Newtown?"
Participants also discussed the ways in which implicit bias (the subject of the next Salon at Stowe), or unconscious attitudes that affect our understanding and perception of others, result in the perpetuation of stereotypes toward people of color. One participant noted that "If a black person wears baggy pants or has tattoos, then people will make assumptions that they are a thug or a criminal, no matter what that person actually does. Even if they are not wearing baggy clothes, people [white people] will make assumptions, often negative, just because of how they look."
The conversation ended with a guest proclaiming a simple, yet understated solution directed towards white people: "Just listen. Listen to those who have different life experiences than you, and believe what they are saying."
Did you attend the fist Stowe Salon at Lunch? Will you attend the next one? What steps do you think can be taken to improve our cities, state, and nation? What will you add to the discussion?