Are You Wrong About Racism?
I have talked to many, many white people in the past week about racism.
Many of us are afraid to say something wrong, afraid to do something wrong . . . and we're afraid of staying silent as well. It seems like nothing we do is the right thing.
I get it.
On Tuesday, I was overcome with fear about whether I should #blackouttuesday on social media.
The black leaders I was seeing said, speak out, end the silence.
My white friends said, we need this gesture of community, even if it's just a gesture.
I decided not to mute myself because I deeply believe that women are taught that if we get smaller and quieter, it will help someone, and that this is a poisonous lie. I believe my words and any loud amplification of black voices has impact. I believe amplifying black voices is not muting myself and that their voices are not a threat to my voice.
I also decided this because I decided I am going to TRY to do everything wrong. I am going to decide to DO everything I can to create the world I want to live in.
People with female bodies and people with black and brown bodies are often taught that there is something inherently wrong with us, with our bodies, with the way we live in our bodies, with everything about our expression of life.
We are taught to try to get an A+ from patriarchal white supremacy, but no matter how hard we try, it's never good enough. We get smaller, and the systems that don't serve us get bigger.
So, I decided to lean into my wrongness. I decided to open up to being told I did something racist or wrong. I decided I wanted to take all the action I could manage to support anti-racism. Starting with letting my actions be wrong. That is the path to growth and change.
A lot of white coaches and business owners have rightly been called out for silence about police brutality.
Others have reached out to me because they do not want to invade black and brown spaces with questions that might seem ignorant about racism. They do not want to impose their white questions on people already impacted by racism.
Here's what I would say: There are amazing resources out there for you, amazing black leaders teaching this work.
Pay them for their courses. Invest in solving this problem for yourself now.
Work with Rachel Cargle: https://www.rachelcargle.com/
Work with Layla Saad: http://laylafsaad.com/good-ancestor-academy
Work with Trudi LeBron: https://www.trudilebron.com/emergencyworkshop
Follow SURJ: https://www.showingupforracialjustice.org/
Read these books: https://bookshop.org/lists/antiracism
Listen to these podcasts: https://www.purewow.com/entertainment/podcasts-about-race-and-racism
If you feel you have questions that are not appropriate to ask to a black or brown leader, we are thinking about offering a training on anti-racism where I work closely with a small handful of people, one-on-one, to answer their foundational questions and take the first important steps to becoming anti-biased.
If we offer this training, it will be individualized to you and your process in becoming anti-biased, but it will also offer structure and challenge you in these areas:
- Unconscious bias;
- Common manifestations of racism like color blindness, defensiveness, white centering, whitewashing, spiritual bypassing, infantilization, white saviorism, and white silence; and
- Massive action towards anti-racism.
The expectation is that by the end of the training you will have a plan that you will commit to for your individualized anti-bias work. Taking a training like this, in itself, does not mean you are doing the work of being anti-racist in the world.
If we offer this training a portion of the proceeds will go to one of the black-led organizations I love and support.
If you are interested in this, just reach out, and let me know (firstname.lastname@example.org). The purpose of this is not to divert money away from black people and people of color doing this work, but to set you up to appropriately work with those advocates and to be a safe space for you to ask questions and talk through biases that are not appropriate to expect black friends and colleagues to answer.
The purpose is to create a space to be wrong, question, learn, and do better. You do not have to know anything about anti-bias work before you join us.
Don't let your fear of being wrong keep you from taking action. We need you.