Talking to the Wall, 2nd Edition

Things you should know and things you can say when your conversation is about race and you feel like you are talking to a wall.

This book is based on the online blogging experiences of 4 bloggers on Our Salon and Open Salon who are alike primarily in their desire to make a contribution to the elimination of white racism in the United States. Their cultural diversity provides an unusual take on the nature and complexity of American racism.

About the Authors

Lezlie Bishop – a multiracial, light-skinned, seventyish woman raised in the north, now living in the south. I attended college in Ripon, WI, birthplace of the Republican Party, where not only was I the only “Negro” woman student but probably the only Democrat. I have spent my entire life attempting to show the rest of America that my color is irrelevant.

Gina Ellis – a retired white woman with an interest in social justice and minority religion. I’ve helped organize advocacy groups and national conferences and for 14 years was a part-time prison chaplain.

Ron Powell – a sixty-something semi-retired teaching attorney. I’m a lawyer by training, a teacher by nature, and a musician at heart. I’ve been experiencing and combating racism my entire life.

Kosh Salaami — Jewish (actively so), just entering my sixties, attended Oberlin in the dim past, been liberal all my life. I’ve been more conspicuously active fighting bigotry online than off. My name here is derived from my screen name, koshersalaami. Joe – He’s a composite, speaking words we’ve heard from many sources. You’ve heard them too.

The authors, who have never met one another personally, were brought together for this extraordinary and unusual project by Ron Powell.

Powell saw a unique opportunity in writing while reviewing the comment streams of several different blog posts on the sites mentioned above.

His idea was to create , or recreate an up tempo conversation between the authors and a composite character,  “Joe”, who would represent the average American “Joe” who clearly is the social and cultural product of white American society.

While he may not be overtly racist, he is in open denial of the nature and effect of racism on both white and black people in America.

The book is dialogue that reads very much like a play…Though it is relatively short, 134 pages, it took the group a year to complete once the project got started…

The material contained and presented is a combination of facts and anecdotes woven together in the style or pattern of a lunchroom conversation between people who come from a variety of backgrounds but work for the same employer…

Some of what is presented is intended to be old hat and familiar to any and all who have grappled with the subject of race at work, at home, at school or in the laundromat….

What may be ‘new’ is what to say and how to say it when the inevitable impasse is reached and the conversation begins to feel like you’re talking to the wall….

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