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Or maybe the basic principle is to try to understand the perspective of the person you're talking to. Don't speak defensively - be open and willing to acknowledge and apologize and correct yourself when a mistake you make is pointed out to you, rather than retreating into racial anxiety.

Progressive white people too frequently have a fear of saying the wrong thing because they're insecure with their racial views. Read more, gain perspective, learn how much you don't know about the experience of minorities, and then approach conversations with people of color with a deferential attitude.

Maybe that's too much work, but it's the price of tending to a multicultural society that is growing out of the ashes of a monocultural one and I think it's worth it.

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