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Would you like to talk about diversity? How about race? Social determinants of health? In some arenas like social justice and public health, these are usually not just safe topics, but ones we want to dive right into, head first! But how do you find others outside of these arenas react to topics like “diversity” or “race”? Do they react defensively, start to fight, or roll their eyes?

Sound familiar? And you know what? I don’t blame them! Sometimes I blame us. Often we’re preaching to the choir, and that’s kept us from getting more work done. We’ve been talking over or past some of the key stakeholders we need onboard — like it or not — to effect real, sustainable change.

Their guilt, shame, anger or blame gets triggered — and ours too — often because of how we’re talking. Maybe a lot us don’t want to talk to folks that aren’t ready allies, but we’ve got to refocus on our goal. This is really not about us feeling like good people or fighting for what is “right”. It’s also not about “selling out” or “not calling racism what it is”, but about being laser-focused on getting better results – for everyone.

It’s about changing the way we talk about diversity and race. I believe it’s time for a new conversation that can, and should, include the following 6 critical points…

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