RaShad Arnold

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RaShad Arnold is a social worker for a nonprofit agency in Portland, Oregon. In his free time, he writes and records rap music he describes it as “music you can play in front of the entire family.” RaShad remembers having “the talk” with his parents about what to do if he were ever pulled over by a police officer. Although he has never been cited for more than a parking ticket, Rashad has been pulled over multiple times for what he calls “driving while black.”

“They have preconceived thoughts about what black people are. And they act upon fear.”

I hung out with everybody in high school. I hung out with Hispanics, Asians. I hung out with my African American friends, and I hung out with white kids. The Asians and Mexicans would always say, “You’re not like other black people.” Even my white friends would say that. And in high school, I was just like, “Oh. OK, thanks.” I didn’t know what it meant. Now that I’m in my mid 20s, I understand what they meant, and I should have corrected that right then and there. I could’ve told them not all black people are criminals like you see on Law and Order.

Peace is living freely without disruption in your daily life as long as it doesn’t cause harm to somebody else. As a nation, as a world, I don’t think we’re good at that. I work toward peace by giving the same respect that I get. I’m not an activist, but I do give peace and I am a peaceful person.

RaShad Arnold full podcast

Discussion Questions

  • Do you feel like you live freely without disruption in your daily life?
  • Do you see peace as something that can be given or taken away? Who gives you peace? Who takes your peace away? How can you not allow them to take your peace away?
  • What stereotypes work against you? What stereotypes work in your favor?
  • When have others made assumptions about you based on what demographic you belong to? Do those assumptions bother you?
  • What stereotypes do you hold about others? What is your reasoning for holding those stereotypes?

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