The Importance of Dialogue

These scenarios illustrate that, in general, African Americans and their white colleagues read very different cues from a given business situation. Often people misunderstand the racial experience of another group because they use their own racial experience to interpret that group's behavior. In the United States, for example, white people have not had to deal with racial oppression. As members of the dominant racial group, they have been able to take race for granted. Because whiteness has not been a barrier, race is not something that is salient for them. It need not be discussed; it simply is. Using this viewpoint to interpret African American behavior, then, a white person may not understand why race is so often ...

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