The Conversation
Read in 17 min.
Listen in 21 min.
Learn the key ideas of the book by Robert Livingston

The Conversation

Fighting racism with everyday actions

Robert Livingston’s The Conversation answers the most common questions on the issue of racism, such as “do races actually exist?” and “how widespread is non-inclusive thinking?” No matter what our political beliefs or social background may be, this book is a must-read, and aims to convey the positive impact that would arise from a greater attention to racial prejudice within society and private companies.

The Conversation
Read in 17 min.
Listen in 21 min.

The fight against racism is dependent on understanding, concern, and activism

Robert Livingstone is a researcher, who analyses the nature of racism and sexism, and how it negatively affects society, public organisations, and private companies. Today, he is a consultant specialising in the subject, and uses his research background to solve diversity-related issues. The author’s point of view is influenced by the situation in the United States of America, his home country, and therefore focuses on discrimination against the black community. However, the same conclusions are valid and the same conditions prevail for many minority communities across the Western world. 

The author began developing his theory by asking what racism actually is, and why it has not yet been eradicated, despite the fact that most people have perfectly good intentions. The resolution of any problem relies on a deep understanding of the issue, and a complete analysis of all its motivations, causes, and effects. One of the main ramifications of racism is inequality, which affects every ethnic group. Within these groups, people sometimes fail to direct their anger towards the real causes of their oppression, and through no direct fault of their own, often fall into the same power dynamics, at the expense of those who have nothing to do with their condition.

By understanding and recognising the issue, we will take on a sense of responsibility and be able to implement a potentially effective solution, but the emotional factor is essential to do this. Anyone aiming to engage in actions or simple conversations with others must remember to maintain a sense of understanding, concern, and a need to do the right thing. These steps are essential for a productive and conscious dialogue to take place.

Racism is commonly defined as a mentality that discriminates on the basis of race and ethnicity, which causes various patterns of behaviour in racist people. This is an incomplete explanation, however, and Robert Livingstone attempts to find a better, all-encompassing definition.


The key ideas of "The Conversation"

The fight against racism is dependent on understanding, concern, and activism
Does racism actually exist, and if so, what is it, exactly?
Institutional and individual privilege: what they are and how they affect discrimination
Certain historical events, and their influence on human psychology, have allowed racism to spread
The concept of race is out-dated, because it does not reflect the biological nature of the human species
Talking about the problem in the right way, and with the right people is crucial if we are to create a less discriminatory society
More inclusive societies and organisations are crucial for both moral and practical reasons, and will also benefit entrepreneurs
Raising awareness and creating new forms of community: practical solutions to the issue of racism
Take-home message
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