By Charles Blow, New York Times

Charles Blow writes a regular Op-Ed column for the New York Times. He authored a recent memoir, "Fire Locked Up in My Bones."

Charles Blow writes a regular Op-Ed column for the New York Times. He authored a recent memoir, “Fire Locked Up in My Bones.”

In our collective imaginations, we tend to conceive of the constantly called-for “national conversation on race” as having the formality of some grand conclave of consciousness — an American Truth and Reconciliation equivalent, a spiritual spectacle in which sins are confessed and blame taken and burdens lifted.

This may be ideal, but it is also exceedingly unlikely in this country, particularly in this political environment. There will be no great atoning. Reparations will not be paid. There will no sprawling absolution.

blk attitudes re policeYet we can still have a productive conversation. Indeed, I would argue that we are in the midst of a national conversation about race at this very moment. Its significance isn’t drawn from structure but from the freedom of its form.

Every discussion over a backyard fence or a cup of coffee is part of that conversation. It is the very continuity of its casualness that bolsters its profundity.

We need to stop calling for the conversation and realize that we are already having it.

Last week the F.B.I. director, James Comey, added his voice to that conversation, particularly as it relates to the relationship between law enforcement and communities of color. There were portions I found particularly potent coming from a man in his position.

He gave a list of “hard truths”…

For a video of James Comey’s speech, click here.

To read Charles Blow’s full analysis of Comey’s speech, click here.

For more Breaking News, click here.