On April 29, 2019, Bainbridge Island welcomed Clyde Ford for a free public discussion. Titled “Let’s Talk About Race,” Ford’s presentation engaged community members in the sometimes uncomfortable but ever crucial conversation about race and racism in modern America. The event was jointly sponsored by the Humanities Washington Speaker Bureau, Arts & Humanities Bainbridge, and Bainbridge Island School District and took place in the Bainbridge High School Commons. Around sixty community members attended.
Ford's presentation helped demystify the discussion around race. Although rooted deeply in American history and as urgent today as ever, race and racism in modern America are seldom addressed through open, curious, and in-depth dialogue. Ford contrasted American's reticence about race with the more forthright and inquisitive approach to this challenging issue taken by people in Germany and South Africa, nations whose histories are also marked by race-based discrimination and violence.
The presentation focused on some of the main stumbling blocks to productive conversations about race and discussed simple techniques to overcome these barriers. Many of Ford's prescriptions were rooted in his decades of work as a psychotherapist and could be applied in conversations about any difficult topic. Attendees gained some simple tools to get comfortable talking about race and were encouraged to start conversations of their own.