Continuing the conversation: How to promote positive change through honest discussions about race


BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — It’s a conversation the country cannot ignore: Understanding the Black Lives Matter movement and pushing the discussion of race in America. 

The Black Lives Matter movement has taken the nation by storm, thousands hope to make a difference as the country grapples with division and a crisis centered around injustice. 

Geoffrey Sherrell, Pastor with Tristone Missionary Baptist church said healing could take some time, an open discussion and education. However, a willingness to be a part of the change is a great start.

“Let’s just talk about injustice,” Pastor Sherrell said. “Let’s talk about what it means for the American. Injustice keeps people from being able to access the American dream.”

Dr. Dwight Norman Jr., a licensed clinical psychologist in Bakersfield said the long-term effects of systemic racism is one that many have yet to understand. 

“As far as the psychological piece of racism, there’s many things that I feel it contributes to,” Dr. Norman said. “One that comes to mind is the idea of being oppressed, not having the same rights and available resources as the next person just because you look different than them.”

However, a lack of understanding doesn’t mean people should remain silent. Norman said finding lasting solutions begins with education. 

“Education is very important,” Norman said. “I believe conversations should be formulated like, ‘Hey, there are individuals out there that look very different than us, that doesn’t make them any less than or any better than us, we’re all equal.’” 

That rhetoric should be discussed early on with children. 

Pastor Sherrell said parents should also address the fact that there shouldn’t be division among peers on the sole basis of racism to begin with. 

“How do we encourage our young people and our children to begin to address racism? We do that by [explaining how] there was never a difference between you and your friend of color,” Pastor Sherrell said. “There wasn’t a difference. Helping to cultivate that behavior that they enact as children, as very young children, you’ll see two and three year olds getting along with each other because they’re both two and three year olds.” 

So, the conversation begins with a willingness to understand and stay informed, all with the hopes of promoting positive change in society. 

“I think it’s going to take a lot of internal understanding,” Norman said. “It’s going to take a lot of education and speaking up. Everyone has a voice.” 

Dr. Norman provided additional resources for those hoping to learn more about systemic racism in modern society:


  • White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism by Robin DiAngelo (Author), Michael Eric Dyson
  • The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America by Richard Rothstein | May 1, 2018
  • So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo | Sep 24, 2019
  • All American Boys by Jason Reynolds & Brenden Kiely
  • Stamped by Jason Reynolds & Ibram X Kendi


Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Latest News

More Local News