How to Sit with Discomfort and Have Hard Conversations

How to Have Hard Conversations and Sit with Discomfort

In today's world, we have to be confronting racism, fostering inclusivity, and having hard conversations. One of the most powerful tools we have at our disposal is storytelling. Through the lens of personal experiences and historical contexts, storytelling can bridge divides, open minds, and create lasting societal change.

However, genuine storytelling requires not just the act of telling but also the often uncomfortable act of listening—listening to voices that have been marginalized and histories that have been overlooked. Here, we delve into the importance of these hard conversations, and the necessity of sitting with discomfort while highlighting BIPOC content creators and educators who are essential resources.

The Power of Storytelling and Listening

At its core, storytelling is about sharing and understanding the human experience. Our lives are a collection of stories, some told frequently, others seldom heard. But to truly effect change, it's imperative to balance the act of telling our own stories with listening to the stories of others.

For many BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color), their stories are tinged or saturated with experiences of racism and discrimination that are all too often overlooked or minimized in mainstream narratives. To dismantle these racist structures, it is crucial for non-BIPOC individuals to listen with intention and empathy. This requires more than passive hearing; it calls for proactive engagement with the pain and struggles experienced.

Why These Conversations are Uncomfortable Yet Essential

Addressing racism is inherently uncomfortable, particularly for those who are privileged enough not to face it daily. However, it is in this discomfort that growth occurs. By engaging in these challenging conversations, we start to understand the depth of others' experiences and begin to see the systemic changes needed.

The elder care and genealogy communities, for instance, have predominantly white memberships and resources that do not always reflect the diversity of experiences. Historical records for many non-white ancestors are sparse or nonexistent, presenting significant barriers in tracing lineage. Such disparities underscore the necessity of including BIPOC voices and stories in these fields.

BIPOC Content Creators and Educators to Follow

Listening to diverse voices is a crucial step towards inclusivity. Here are some BIPOC content creators and educators who provide valuable insights into discussions around race, history, and allyship:


Led by Dr. Shanita Williams, Mamademics offers educational resources, blog posts, and workshops focusing on the intersection of motherhood, academia, and race. Dr. Williams' insights into how racial dynamics affect parenting and education are invaluable for anyone seeking to understand these complex intersections better.

Woke Homeschooling

Woke Homeschooling provides resources for teaching children about race and social justice issues. Their aim is to ensure that future generations are more aware and inclusive, starting from a young age. This platform is especially helpful for parents and educators looking to incorporate comprehensive historical narratives into their curriculums.

This extensive online resource offers thousands of pages dedicated to Black history globally and in the United States. For anyone looking to deepen their historical understanding and incorporate a more inclusive viewpoint into their storytelling, serves as an excellent reference.

Pretty Good: Resource Roundup

Pretty Good offers a comprehensive roundup of resources geared towards explaining race to children and young adults. Their focus on creating accessible and engaging content ensures that complex issues can be understood and discussed by all age groups.

Practical Steps for Engaging in Hard Conversations

  1. Start the Conversation: Simple prompts can help. Ask about someone's favorite memory or piece of advice they've received—then truly listen.
  2. Be Present: Listening with intention means being in the moment and open to what the other person is saying, even if it's uncomfortable.
  3. Reflect and Act: After hearing someone’s story, take time to reflect on how it impacts your worldview and what steps you can take to support systemic change.
  4. Educate Yourself: Use the resources provided by BIPOC educators and content creators to deepen your understanding of racial issues.
  5. Show Up Continuously: Consistency is key. Keep having these conversations, even when it feels challenging.

Have the Hard Conversations

In the grand tapestry of human experience, every thread matters. By embracing the discomfort of hard conversations and actively seeking out BIPOC stories and voices, we begin to weave a more inclusive, empathetic, and just society. The journey begins with listening, reflecting, and taking intentional steps toward meaningful change. 

Use the resources from content creators like Mamademics, Woke Homeschooling, and to educate yourself and broaden your understanding. Remember, growth happens when we step outside our comfort zones and engage with the full spectrum of the human experience.