When Ronnie Pepper was a kid, his mother told him he could not be the president or an astronaut. Though she did not say it aloud, Pepper understood that it was because of the color of his skin. Patterns of internalized oppression and ingrained racism are some of the targets of recent protests and calls for social change across the country.
Pepper sees the moment as ripe to start conversations closer to home with family and friends who may say or do things that harm Black communities. The process may be like getting a kid to eat their broccoli, Pepper says. People may not want to hear criticism or new ideas right away, but if you get them to try just a little bit, they’ll be more open to trying it again later.
Host Frank Stasio talks with Pepper, a professional storyteller and librarian at the Henderson County Public Library, about starting these difficult conversations and his tactics for talking about race.