So obviously you’re not saying “You can’t ever disagree with a person of color on anything, ever”.
John Novak

Hi John,

I struggle with similar questions to the one you raise. One thing to consider is whether it’s possible to swap out “interject” with “respond.” Is it possible to just keep listening, even when we feel that we’re being misunderstood, or lumped into a category, or even unfairly attacked?

Sometimes when I take a breath and let the other person finish their thought, by the time I respond, I’m able to do so more skillfully.

Another thing that’s helpful to me, when I remember to do it, is to try to respond at the same level as the person I’m speaking with. What I mean by that is that if you’re trying to tell me about systemic racism, and I interject with, “But I’m not a racist,” I’m just talking past you rather than really responding. I’m speaking on the individual level, but you were addressing the system level. Likewise, if you’re telling me about a personal experience, and I respond with facts and figures or intellectualizaton, then I’m talking past you.

Thanks for talking about this stuff!