Who were you before this world got its hands on your heart? What put a sparkle in your eye and a skip in your step? When did those dreams leave? Why did they go?⠀⠀
There is so much pressure to fit in and follow along with the status quo. If you don’t, the consequences are severe and sometimes catastrophic. Growing up, I thought this was just the way things were. ⠀
2020 has shaken the white collective awake and heightened our awareness. We are realizing we have reached the apex of polarity – becoming more and more divided and more and more fractured. These false divides holding us captive to our fears and those that profit off our separation. ⠀
What if instead of imagining the worst, we tapped back into our essence, our purpose, our very reason for inhabiting a human body at this time in history?⠀
What are you here for? What dreams make your heart sing and when did you stop believing those dreams were possible? Who or what told you that maintaining the status quo, following the rules and faking “nice” was the best choice? Can you trace back to that moment when you gave up your deepest desires? What if now is the time to bring them back to life? What if this isn’t the end, but the beginning of creating a world we were born for, dreamed of, destined to be part of? What would you do? Who would you be?⠀⠀
I’ve been quiet the last several months – not because I don’t have something to say but because no matter what I said it was going to upset someone. Many times in my life upsetting the wrong person has caused significant and severe consequences – ones that come with traumatic memories and emotions. I’ve been wondering what does that mean for the work I have done in anti-racism and it’s relevance for this time – even my relevance. I have relied deeply on my will to fight injustice in any form to keep me going in the past. But this moment has been calling me deeper inside myself to reflect on what energy is needed for this time. The answer I keep getting is: STOP FIGHTING.
I remember a decade ago sitting in a People’s Institute (pisab.org) workshop thinking I knew so much about antiracism. I knew the definition of racism. I knew all white people benefit from this system. I had been connected to and involved in many predominately Black organizations for over decade prior to sitting in this training. I remember the moment when I realized over-identification with Black people was “preaching to the choir.” It made me feel good but wasn’t making much of a difference in terms of racial equity. I was angry. I had been angry. I was angry about racism and it’s impact but I didn’t know how much being racialized as white has impacted me and how the anger was also connected to that trauma. I was angry about all the times I’d been cast out for questioning the status quo and no one stood up for me. I thought I was standing up for injustice but all I was doing was directing my anger at other white people and doing just about nothing to change any racist systems.
I’m happy to see the collective awakening to racism that many white people are having at this moment. And also I’m noticing many of the same mistakes I made being perpetuated. There are many reasons that white supremacy culture is dangerous for BIPOC. This isn’t a debate. But white people – how do you think it is most effective to address this culture and power structure?
What I’ve learned is that it is my work as a white person to connect with and understand the commonalities I have with white people – as many Black civil rights leaders have told us to do. I’ve learned that my desire to separate myself out as “one of the good ones” is one way this system is kept intact. Arguing with white people about racism has never been an effective strategy for me. It may have felt good to rage out when I realized everything I thought I knew was a lie. But it was selfish. There was a time I didn’t know and there are a long list of folks who took the time to teach me. Judging other white people because they don’t know what you didn’t know last year is not anti-racism – it is perpetuating white supremacy culture.
Don’t get it twisted and say I’m advocating for love and light bypassing or advocating for anyone to stay in any type of relationship where there is abuse of power. But if blocking and deleting folks for having a different opinion than you is your antiracism strategy, you may want to wonder where you learned to handle conflict like that?
know where I learned it. I learned it at work when I spoke my opinion and was blocked from promotions. I learned it in a predominately white high school when friends ostracized me for speaking my mind. I learned it when I disagreed with my parents and got sent to my room. It is encoded in my DNA as my ancestors learned to abandon their native culture and uphold white American values to access to the “American Dream.” I learned it from the land on which I was raised that remembers when Europeans stopped organizing with Africans for the promise of privilege, power and access and traded their connection to their heart, soul and humanity to become white.
This American dream isn’t mine. I’m willing to bet it isn’t yours either. Can we surrender this construct which has lulled white people to sleep and used our ignorance and selfishness as a weapon of mass destruction? Finally we are waking us up as the system around us collapses and crumbles.
The time is now for the dreams we were born to fulfill. Now is the time to bring hope. Now is the time to connect. Now is the time to rescind the contract our ancestors made with whiteness and to live out our divine purpose. No matter what happens this week, the work to connect to our humanity and heal ourselves, our families, our communities, and our country requires all of us. As everything around us crumbles, bring your dreams to life so this can be the end of racism and the beginning of healing.