We had been familiarized with the rules which state that people have the freedom to share their thoughts, ideals, and perspectives, without the worry of a response, recourse or argument. (So, in a nutshell you can share you own opinion but no one can respond, question, or challenge your stance on any issues). As we prepped our home to have 6 strangers (or new friends as we like to call them) come over for our very first Dallas Dinner Table experience, we didn’t really know what to expect.
We had a small but great group of 6 people including my bride. The night began with our kids being a key part of the experience with our daughter running around dancing, singing, and performing for our new friends.
When my 2 year old was asked what her thoughts were on race, she responded “Yes, I want to race” which got some good laughs. It struck me as sweet to think of the simplicity of a child’s mind. They have not been marred by the world yet. They have not been introduced to bias, hate, judgment, and some of the other things that infect our communities. There was sort of a beautiful naivety that I hope we can preserve and also help nurture into a quest for knowledge and appreciation of all peoples.
We spent the first part of the evening getting to know everyone, going through introductions, and eventually made our way into the first segment of the evening…
The Paper Questions.
Each of us had to go around and ask a handful of questions to everyone else in the group. One by one, we would sit down individually and ask some fairly tough questions. There was no response, the interviewer would write down the answer and move on to the next person.
I believe it was set up this way to allow us to learn about the different perspectives in the group. However, this left many of us wanting and hearing for dialogue and deeper exploration into the “why” questions as much as the “what”.
We then sat at dinner where the discussion was headed up by our facilitator and we each had time to answer a few different questions and share our thoughts without worrying about offending our other Dallas Dinner Table members.
After dinner and desert, our time concluded and there was an overwhelming response from the group was that this was a great evening and we would love the opportunity to speak more.
Overall I really enjoyed this evening. It was a great first step. An important step, but not good enough. We need to get to a place where our meetings among races is not simply a monologue, but rather a rich dialogue between unique, dynamic, and amazing people. In order for us to move forward and take the next step in our development as a city, we need to take the next step to a conversation and then from there to action. To change. To transformation of a whole city who not only believe that we are all created equal and have great value, but to a group of people that are determined to explore what makes each of us unique and special.
Dallas is a great city in America, but we will never become a global leader until we are willing to recognize what makes us different and embrace a growing and dynamic population of all races, creeds, religions and ideologies.
For information on how to engage and participate in future Dallas Dinner Table conversations you can go here to learn more:
Trey Bowles | Mayor’s Star Council Founder