“There is no blueprint on how to do it properly.” – Tunde Oyeneyin
There is so much to do. Now, today, tomorrow and every day for the rest of my life.
The following strikes me on my own journey in anti-racism work: I trip, I fall, I discover, I learn. The learning part is deeply uncomfortable. There are places where my anger flares up and where I feel VERY defensive. I learn to ask: “What is this really about? Where does it come from?” The discomfort often comes from my subconscious. Something threatens my unnamed or untested strength or my comfort and I don’t like it. My reaction is to refuse them, to defend myself and to stick to the status quo if I don’t see what I’m doing.
There is so much I don’t know. There is so much I cannot know. As a white woman, I can never really get to know the full experience of black women, black people and people with color.
I will listen deeply to the lived experiences that others tell me.
What I can do is listen and believe you. Brené Brown says: “To put yourself in a person’s experience, you have to be willing to believe him as you see it, not as you imagine his experience.”
So our first core value in my company is that we use the words “Through my experience.” It is not my job to reject, explain, or reduce someone else’s lived experience, be it in motherhood or in business or in femininity or in race or anything else.
There is no game book for this. We have to do it.
There is no game book on how to become an anti-racist society. There is no downloadable 10-step e-book plan for this. We’re not going to do it right. Let me rephrase that: I’m not going to do it “right”. I want to know which check boxes I can check to do this correctly. But there is only a guarantee that I will get it wrong and I will learn and I will go on. It’s not about being a perfect white ally. It is about becoming a society based on justice and justice and addressing our racist history and the very real racism and white supremacy that currently exist in our culture.
“It’s about becoming a society based on justice and justice and addressing our racist history and the very real racism and white supremacy that currently exist in our culture.”
Do not stop when it becomes difficult or uncomfortable.
Here are some memories and words that have helped me. (I think of these as “mantras”, which means “mental tool”, originally in Hinduism or Buddhism, but they can also be called phrases or memories). For me it is a sentence that you can repeat for yourself if you feel the feelings, deepen yourself and do the work.
I will do it wrong over and over again.
I will continue. I will keep doing it better.
There is no right way to end racism.
There is no game book for this.
We have never done this before and it will be difficult.
We have to keep going.
It’s okay to be angry.
It’s okay for me to feel uncomfortable.
People have the right to be angry.
I can handle it when other people are angry. It’s okay for you to be angry with me I can handle your anger
I can listen now. I don’t have to solve that. I can only listen.
My discomfort is not a priority at the moment. What happens if I sit with my discomfort instead of trying to leave it to someone else?
Go on. Keep going.
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