John- That was really beautifully written and really helpful to me. Like Kathryn, I am a white woman, that although I am open minded, I didn’t realize that not being a racist is NOT enough. I think it is crucial to educated ourselves and speak out. But I will be honest, most times I am too self conscious speaking up because I don’t want to say the wrong things because although my intention is to come across as understanding and not a racist, I can’t control how people perceive my comments…and the last thing I want to do is upset anyone. This happened recently during a recent convo with a black male friend when I felt that everything I said was wrong, so I decided to SHUT UP and just listen. As I was listening I realized that as “white people” we are always trying to prove we aren’t racists instead of LISTENING. I really think he just wanted to be heard and for me to validate his feelings by listening and not making excuses. John- you are right it is emotional and you SHOULD be able to express your emotions without anyone dismissing you. Thank you again and I really appreciate everyone’s insight!!!!