Accepted AnswerI think the persuasion is all about authenticity with respect to their action, not their words. As an African American, I believe we have a sixth sense regarding honesty and genuiness with "white folks". It's about being a real human being and comfortable in your own skin with anyone you encounter black, white or otherwise. Don't try and convince me of your genuineness, just be genuine. A white person's awkwardness when relating to black people, could be a real teachable moment for that white person to ask themselves: "Why am I uncomfortable with this person?" and then take a real assessment.
I believe some white people have no idea of the racist tendencies that may lay hidden within them until they are confronted with relating to a black person. There has to be a willingness to be open to the possibiltiy they may have some unconscious, latent racist tendency simply because they are white and their only knowledge of black people is through the media- no personal interaction. We, as black people, must also be our genuine selves and not apologize for being who we are. We are all human beings on this planet striving to grow on the many levels of existence for human beings. If we put our real and honest foot forward, we should expect no less than that from a white person. We, as black people, should treat them they way we would want to be treated. If that makes them uncomfortable, its for them to reflect and question.Once we are in a real friendship, it might lend itself to having an actual conversation about race and the current relationship, helping the relationship to grow deeper. It's all about love. Love of self. Love of each other. Love of the Universe.
Accepted AnswerOf course, a big part of the answer is, "it depends." It depends on the two people involved. My experience is that it works when I demonstrate I am really willing to work hard for this friendship, and not expect the same in return right away. I feel it is my job to take personal responsibility for the legacy that makes this friendship hard--not by blaming myself in some self-defeating, irritating way which makes it really hard for me to receive friendship anyway--but by making it clear I know we are doing something that remains unusual, unfortunately, and that I am willing to work for this friendship with love and loyalty I _demonstrate, I _live, I _embody.
I'm someone who doesn't trust easily but does trust deeply. Talk is cheap. I adore words! but they are a fluid medium. I trust action,, especially actions demonstrated over the long-term.
So I am easily sympathetic that this may be the case with the other person, and eager to demonstrate. It's like falling in love: I allow my whole entering-into-friendship to become infused with not talking but _walking the following: 1. I really really like YOU, you the person, bodymindspirit. 2. I am in this for the long haul. Thus, our trust in each other has time to develop. 3. I am interested in what interests you, because it interests you. (This has brought me into friendship with whole new cultures, bodies of knowledge, practices, new things I love and keep forever like friends themselves--from algebra to Zairean pop music!) This leap of love is unlike the leap of faith--into the unknown, the deliciousness of risk!
Accepted AnswerIt seems if we "try" to convince someone we are for real, it may be creating an awkward if not a false environment. That may be so because in our quest to be accepted we may be shutting down part of our own perceptive abilities. If we allow for certain conditioned responses on one hand to certain unintentional errors on the other, we create a space and an opportunity for growth.
One specific approach is not to assume someone's interest is solely dictated by their ethnicity i.e. people of African descent are unavoidably aware or race issues but may have an abiding interest in astrology or geography and would prefer to discuss either as opposed to rehashing racial topics.
It would seem prudent that focused discussion of race not be undertaken until the friendship can take a bit of scrutiny and has the strength to recover from innocent/awkward statements and the like. Also the white person has to have moved beyond the concept that some of his best friends are Black, Chinese, Italian etc. This also allows for the friendship to be based on personal qualities - among which race is the least important. That part seems to be better picked up from behavior rather than pronouncements...