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In an episode of the NBC sitcom The Office, clueless office manager Michael Scott tries to lead a meaningful discussion on race with his employees—and offends nearly all of them in the process. Such a clumsily executed discussion is probably not what President Barack Obama had in mind when he implored Americans to use the workplace as a forum for productive discussions about race in a speech following the George Zimmerman verdict.

In his remarks, President Obama said:

“There has been talk about should we convene a conversation on race. I haven't seen that be particularly productive when politicians try to organize conversations. They end up being stilted and politicized, and folks are locked into the positions they already have. On the other hand, in families and churches and workplaces, there's the possibility that people are a little bit more honest . . .”

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