I have written and rewritten this sentence at least fifty times. How do I express my outrage regarding the murder of George Floyd on the heels of Ahmaud Arbery and Breona Taylor’s deaths? I am more than outraged but lack a word that fully describes my combined anger, frustration, intolerance and impatience for change.
I estimate that it was four to five years ago when I first heard the term “white privilege” I already knew that my skin color granted me much more freedom than black and brown people. Have we forgotten that this country was built on genocide and slave labor? Shamefully the oppression continues. I have to do more, say more, be more, lead more, learn more.
My voice and my actions are integral to the solution.
It’s more accurate to say I knew that I held white privilege but I didn’t really know the extent of my privilege. It’s absolutely necessary that I come clean with you. Not going deep enough in my white privilege blinded me from the racist threads residing in my DNA and that I unconsciously oppress BIPOC. Absolutely f-ing blind to me and this realization makes me sick.
I have already started my undoing. I’m not telling you this for a pat on the back but rather to encourage you to take action too. While I am not afraid to speak my mind, I must reevaluate my language and my beliefs at every single and cellular level. I’ve started reading “White Fragility” by Robin Diangelo. Today I attended a seminar on Equity, Diversity and Inclusion for White Coaches led by Trudi Lebron. (Excellent!) My first goal is to be explicit in my mission as an Anti-racist woman and leader.
My Girlfriend Voice is a hate-free anti-racist platform for women.
My Girlfriend Voice supports equity, diversity and inclusion.
I will speak to hate and take action against hate and all forms of discrimination and inequity; even subtle bias. It’s likely I will make mistakes and no worries, I will be accountable for them all. I hope you have the same attitude. I will call out racism whenever and wherever I see it; even when inconvenient. It’s going to make a lot of people uncomfortable.
My Girlfriend Voice is a brave space.
I used to say that I’d created a sacred space but that term no longer seems to describe the Girlfriend Voice community. Brave is defined in the dictionary as to endure or face unpleasant conditions or behavior without showing fear. We will respectfully address all stigma-laden topics including race. This is a safe, courageous, respectful gathering place. I believe brave people welcome introspection and participation in change.
And a comment regarding “spiritual bypassing:”. I am not going to paint rainbows and sing kumbaya, sidestepping these important issues or pretending they don’t exist. Hell no. In my journey to learn, practice and teach about self-limiting beliefs and empowerment, I am going to examine historical, cultural and religious based...
I just returned from my first trip to the amazing city of New Orleans! What a place—a city rich in history and culture.
On the final leg of the trip home I sat reflecting on the warmth of the NoLa people and the pride associated with excellent products and services, when a man also traveling home from the South, made the following comment, “The only good thing about the South is the manners. People there really know their place and respect white people. They don’t have attitudes like these Mexicans over here.”
Maturity or maybe aging neurons provided me with the ability to pause before I engaged my mouth. My first thought. Did I just hear him correctly? Yes, I am wearing my glasses. (I swear I hear better when I am wearing my glasses!) But this was someone my age or even younger…….hmmmm.
My second thought was why should I waste my energy responding to such a complete idiot? But….. I can’t just stay silent, can I? After all, communication is what separates us from apes…..
My neurons finally started firing on all cylinders and I managed to say this with a touch of icy calm, “Excuse me but everyone has a story and you cannot know the perspective of another person until you have walked in their shoes.”
May I point out I didn’t use any expletives? I zipped my lip. I gave him no fuel to further engage me on any topic whether it is race, immigration or even the weather. I am comfortable with my beliefs and I so much wanted to change his perspective but I deemed him a lost cause. I also deemed him a racist moron in case you thought I had gone soft in the head.
My choice is to expend my energy where I CAN make a difference but driving home I could not let go of that conversation. Isn’t this 2012? Don’t I live in one of the most progressive areas of the country? Why are we still judging people by the color of their skin? Where is his compassion for a fellow human being?
People!! Let’s not forget that the United States was founded by immigrants. Furthermore, we displaced the native people and exploited the cheap or even free labor of many others.
The beauty of this country lies in our diversity. Celebrate it!
The color of someone’s skin does not determine whether or not we engage with them in a kind, honest and respectful manner. For that matter, neither does their gender, sexual orientation, religious beliefs and socioeconomic status. All people deserve respect. It’s really that simple.
“Treat others better than you wish to be treated yourself.” That’s what my Grandma always told us and that is what I wish to share with you.
From the heart,