Does Talking About Race Make You Sweat? Our Experts Are Here To Help

'Talking about race doesn’t have to be drama,' says Eva Vega-Olds.

In honor of the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., MTV is having an honest and brave conversation about race across all screens. Share your story using the hashtag, #TheTalk. Your tweet may appear on-air, or on

A lot of people don’t feel comfortable starting a conversation about race with their friends and family. In fact, 79% of the millennials interviewed for a recent MTV study said they were worried that talking about bias would create conflict, or make the problem worse. This is pretty messed up when you consider that a similar amount of millennials (73%) believe that talking more about bias will make the world less prejudice.

It seems like people know they should be talking about bias, but don’t know how to get the conversation started. To help out, we rounded up three experts to give us some tips on talking to your friends and family about bias.

Eva Vegas-Olds

Eva Vega-Olds, Assistant Director of Civil Rights, The Anti Defamation League

"Initiating a conversation about race is a great way to learn about different perspectives and explore your own thinking about a topic that is sometimes considered taboo. Even when there are different perspectives, talking about race doesn’t have to be drama.

Here are a few tips to help you get you started:

+ Affirm up front that you don’t know everything about race but you are interested in learning more.

+Speak on behalf of your own thoughts and experiences, not your race. And don’t expect others to represent their race, either.

+Ask open-ended questions that will invite others to share their thoughts.

+Recognize that not knowing or understanding doesn’t make you a bad person. It just highlights how much work we all have to do.

+Look for new insight in what someone else is saying and follow it up by doing your own research.

Being willing to talk about race is the first step in creating understanding and social change. Good luck!"


Nessa, MTV's 'Girl Code'

"The best way to start a discussion with your family and friends about race is to bring up something that currently happened and give your opinion on it without being aggressive. Wait and see their response-because they may not agree with you. Another great way to bring it up is by referencing to something you have learned that sparked your interest to bring it up. For an example, maybe you learned about certain laws that were passed due to certain historical incidents-that is when you can bring up what you learned and say your thoughts on it.

The most important aspect about talking about sensitive subject like race is to be a great listener. Also, it's just as important to not attack anyone's opinion, and the closer you stick to to facts the less you have to deal with skewed opinions. It's never easy to talk about sensitive topics but it is healthy and crucial to spread knowledge through discussion."

Lecia Brooks

Lecia Brooks, Outreach Director, Southern Poverty Law Center

"The only way you’ll become comfortable talking about race is to commit to talk about race. Start with someone you think “gets” you and won’t really be surprised that you’re going there. Share a story about a time in your life when you acutely felt your race. Talk about what you were feeling and how you responded. Then ask them if they’ve ever had that experience. It’s okay if they don’t have anything to share, they’re always more you can say about you."

If you want to learn more about how to handle these awkward convos, head to Look Different’s See That/Say This

So, are you ready to get the conversation started?

Share your story using the hashtag, #TheTalk. Your tweet may appear on-air, or on

Want more? Watch all the artist, activist, and politician’s testimonials HERE.