Why We Must Be Willing To Have Proactive Conversations About Race

It’s time for us to be comfortable with the uncomfortable conversation about race. If we truly believe in equal rights and equal opportunity in America, we need to have real conversations about this issue. We can’t be color blind, we have to be color brave.”

Mellody Hobson, President of Chicago based Ariel Investments, opens us her TED talk describing an incident that happened with a good friend of hers. In 2006, she and US politician Harold Ford, were hosting a media event in New York that was being held in honor of Ford in his bid for the US Senate seat in Tennessee.

They looked and felt great, so they were not quite expecting the initial reception they received – being mistaken for the kitchen help.

“We were in our bests suits. We looked like shiny new pennies. And we get to the receptionist and we say ‘We are here for the lunch’. She motions for us to follow her. We walked through a series of corridors and all of a sudden we find ourselves in this dark room, at which point she looks at us and says ‘Where are your uniforms?’” Hobson recalls.

Hobson and Ford still laugh about the story, but it calls attention to an ongoing issue about race and color. As Hobson says so well, “The first step to solving any problem is to not hide from it.”

In her TED talk, the finance executive shares her experiences and encourages us to be a little bolder in our conversations about race.

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