Black Voices

Telling People They Sound Racist Can Be Awkward. Here's What You Should Do.

Whether you're addressing your least favorite uncle, a childhood friend or just a stranger at a bar, telling someone he or she sounds racist isn't always the easiest thing to do -- but then again, neither is listening to racist word vomit.

In 2008, New York-based writer and DJ John Randolph (aka DJ Jay Smooth) perfected how to confront someone who made a racist remark. Sadly, the clip is as relevant as ever.

"The most important thing that you've got to do is remember the difference between the 'What they did' conversation and the 'What they are' conversation," Randolph explains in the video.

You always want to have the former, he says, because the latter -- the "I think you are a racist" conversation -- involves speculations about someone's motives and intentions, which a person can easily argue against.

"When somebody picks my pocket, I'm not going to chase him down to see if he feels like he's a thief deep down in his heart -- I'm gonna being chasing him down so I can get my wallet back," Randolph says in the video. "I don't care what he is, I need to hold him accountable for what he did."

The takeaway? "Focus on the part that matters: holding each person accountable for their words and actions."

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