This weekend I found myself at a lunch table with two white people, a black person, and a couple of Asians. During the course of our delightful conversation, the black person referred to the owner of her neighborhood store as "the Arab", when both of the white people gently encouraged her to consider using other words to describe the owner - perhaps "persons of middle-eastern descent"? The black person was appalled that she might have possibly offended someone, and the lunchtime conversation evolved into an interesting, respectful exchange of thought regarding ethnic slangs. At one point the black person asked the white person, You mean, that would be like you calling me the N-word? There was no fighting, no discomfort, not even any awkwardness. Just authentic, respectful, honest conversation, sprinkled with a bit of humor, and a lot of safe space for personal vulnerability. Lunch ended with decadent slices of mouth-watering peach pie with fresh whip cream.
And everyone at that table walked away with both bellies and hearts that were just a bit fuller.