Ask Lisa Advice: Are You More Woke Now than Last Year?

For the final Ask Lisa Advice column of 2017, I’m asking readers to weigh in and share the kinds of race-focused discussions you’ve had this year.

2017 has been a year of strained race-relations, affecting many of us in the Multiracial community. From Candidate Trump’s belittling of the African American community to President Trump’s Muslim ban, from the dismantling of Confederate memorial statues to the success of “Get Out,” from the White supremacist rally in Charlottesville to the announcement of Harry and Meghan’s engagement, the events of 2017 have inspired endless discussions about race.

For my part, I found myself on more than one occasion trying to explain to a group of White dads (in another town where one of my kids plays sports) that Kaepernick and the other NFL guys were taking a knee because they love their country and hold it to a higher standard. The dads had insisted that these Black football players were ungrateful because they make so much money. “What do those guys have to complain about?” I never would have engaged these guys about something like this before, I’m generally friendlly with them, but hearing them call these brave football players “snowflakes,” incensed me. I had to jump in, arguing that the NFL guys were using their power to stand up for those who lack the visibility to defend themselves. I explained about the footballers’ stance the best I could, aware of being the only woman, the only person of color in the bleachers. Did the guys listen to me? Who knows, but at least I interrupted their thinking. That’s something, right? I have a feeling I’m not alone in using my voice more than usual this year.

2017, like any year, culminated in the usual round of family gatherings and holiday parties—social petri dishes where viewpoints mingle, mix and frequently clash. Sure, heated conversations happen on social media all the time, but with an online community, you can take a break for a week, a month, a year or two. With people at the office, or with family, you can’t just disappear. On some level, you have to engage, even if it’s only to agree to disagree.

All that said, I’m throwing out some questions for readers to answer in the comments section below.

  • Have you faced more race-related interpersonal challenges this year, either with co-workers, family members?
  • Have you found yourself engaged more than usual in discussions about race?
  • Have you become more or less confrontational regarding racial discussions?
  • As a member of the multiracial community, do you consider yourself or those around you more “woke” than before?
  • If you could give your 2016 a message about the role of racial discussions in your life, what would it be?

Jump in and discuss! And have a Happy New Year!

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