Firstly, recognise when you DON’T have the energy to talk. Conversations about race are hard, and can be SO mentally and emotionally draining. So don’t feel guilty if you don’t have the energy to cope with them today. That’s okay.
Secondly, try to have a good idea of where the person or people that you take up the conversation with is/are standing. Part of that means using your judgement to predict where that person might be on the motorway (see Motorway Analogy if you haven’t already).
If you try to start an anti-racism conversation with someone who is in the fast lane going the wrong way, it’s probably going to end with them getting angry and probably even more offensive, and you getting upset and using all of your energy on one conversation. Have you heard of the spoon metaphor? Find it here
That’s NOT to say that you shouldn’t ever have these conversations with those people, but just to know your limits before and during. Know how much energy you have. Know how much time you have to spend putting your points across and having (usually) awful quality ‘facts/statistics’ and unfounded opinions thrown at you with little-no intention of hearing you out.
Some days you might feel fine to have conversations with these people, other days you might not. Sometimes you may find yourself in a conversation with someone that started off okay but has started to turn nasty, and I think it’s important to be able to say something along the lines of ‘okay well it doesn’t feel as though we’re listening to each other’s points properly here so let’s revisit this when we’ve both chilled out’. I often like to leave a link to a video or article that better explains my point if I feel like i’m saying the same thing over and over again!
It is SO important to look after your mental health, so always put that first. Do NOT feel bad for not pulling up fast-laners if you haven’t got the energy to cope with them right now, save it for another day, and use your energy discussing things that feel easy, or at least easier, to you today.