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After attending my fourth Coffee with Black Guy, I was disappointed with the article “Difficult but Necessary Conversations.” Did your staff attend the event on February 8 at the Black Culture House? Once again through a white lens, the article provided very little new information or fully captured the profound cultural shifts that are happening at Coffee with a Black Guy.
I grew up in Santa Barbara. I went to Monroe Elementary School, Santa Barbara Junior High and high school (shout out to Mr. Jackson and Jose). Both of my parents are immigrants; my mom is Thai and Chinese, and my dad is Jewish and was born in South Africa. As a mixed-race person understanding my brown and white identity and having grown up in Santa Barbara, I am deeply grateful that James Joyce III started Coffee with a Black Guy and that I get to be a part of it and watch it grow.
Being a person of color in a society that was created from the forced labor and exploitation of black and brown people is more than a difficult conversation. To navigate through and thrive in an oppressive society takes a lot of mindfulness, vulnerability/strength, and love. While it may be difficult for a white person/white-passing person to hear that they contribute and benefit from the dominant culture, it comes with adversity and pain to live through it.
The article didn’t include any interviews from attendees, the range of people and questions, or the numerous teachable moments that people of color are offering our white peers. Coffee with a Black Guy isn’t just some “diversity” event in Santa Barbara. It is a mighty pebble that is being thrown in the Santa Barbara sea. Those who are being fully present with themselves, it is inevitable to see the inner and outer ripples of healing and liberation for black and brown people that Coffee with a Black Guy has started in the Santa Barbara and neighboring communities.