As our nation goes through some trying times, I want to reach out with a position and a few things that have been helping me wrap my head around everything.
In addition, my accountability group ran a 5K this past week and added in a last minute fundraiser for the Minneapolis area, as this is a city close to my heart, having lived and worked there for the better part of six years… and it is in need!
If you would like to contribute, Wholee Healthy will be donating 10% of its June proceeds, the funds from the run, and any other donations to a church in Minneapolis- Minneapolis First who has teamed with my Waconia hometown church to provide supplies to those in need in the downtown area.
If you are in a position to give and don’t know how else to help right now, please contact me firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here is the message that I shared on social media today. I hope it helps!
‘Friends who are saying “when will things just go back to normal”, friends who are staying silent, friends who are feeling white guilt, friends who grew up with me or know me from a predominantly white community, friends who don’t think their black friends and acquaintances don’t have it any harder, friends who live in a predominantly white community now like I do, friends who are cringing and nervous for me for putting myself out there right now, this message is for you!
Through the stories I’ve been hearing from black individuals lately and from my collegiate and professional teaching years in Minneapolis, I’ve learned a few things… I still have much to learn and don’t claim to be an expert, but I want to offer something that I think may be useful:
If you aren’t comfortable making bold statements on social media or going to protest, that is okay. But, realize one thing:
Black individuals are sharing powerful, inspiring, eloquent, and monumental messages that are moving so many to reform and opening so many eyes. But, there are individuals that have very little respect, value, or understanding of the black population as a whole. And that is where white allies have an important role to play. If we ever want to get through to these individuals, they will most likely need to hear about equality and race from other white individuals… we are in no way more worthy of their attention, but in their eyes, we are. And because of this misconception, we have a responsibility to use our influence and position to speak truth.
We may feel anger for the mistreatment and unfairness the black population has experienced, and we may even have resentment towards these white individuals with such a misconstrued view of things. But, we also need to realize that if we are truly going to help them see things in a new light, we absolutely need to speak to them with conviction, but also with respect and in a calm and collected manner. That is the only way we will truly get through to them… that is the only way humankind will grow; the only way inequality will be righted.
These white individuals needing to hear truth don’t need to be people that we seek out… it might be a family member, a friend, an acquaintance… Those who you already have a respectful relationship with, who will listen to you! A few common statements or situations we need to address:
… a racist comment or joke
… “I can’t wait for things to go back to normal”
… “I don’t know what to say so I’m not saying anything”
… “Things aren’t that bad, I don’t get what the big deal is.”
… “I feel like I can’t say anything right”
… “It doesn’t affect me”
Use these types of statements and situations as opportunities to stand up for what’s right. Explain that the black population has every right to stand up for equality… that it is about time they are heard and are seen as equal! That they have NOT been treated equally… even if it seems like. That now is our opportunity to really gain momentum for change; to wake up the masses to what black lives are like in comparison to whites’. That recognizing this reality doesn’t mean whites’ lives aren’t hard too, but it acknowledges that we don’t have race-related bias working against us. That racist jokes and statements just have to go. That we need to, at the very least, have conversations and open the eyes of our loved ones to what is right… and that is equality. That we need to be aware that there isn’t one “normal” or “right” way to talk, look, dress, do our hair, express ourselves, live… To educate ourselves on other cultures and their stories… to raise our children surrounded with an accurate depiction of the cultures that are in the world-and not just the culture that looks and acts exactly like we do (surround them with people from other cultures if you can, and if not that, at least books, toys, movies, conversations).
These conversations? They WILL be uncomfortable. It’s not easy, but it has to happen. Because that’s how we grow and move forward. That is how we learn! If you get shot down, keep doing what’s right. Because this is bigger than us! A bruised ego for a day is nothing in comparison to what black individuals have to face every day of their entire lives for just being born looking a certain way.
“When we know better, we do better.”
“Make it a habit to change your opinion when you are presented with new facts.”
These are my favorite two quotes I’ve seen circulating. And I am taking them to heart.
Friends that are more knowledgeable and friends of color that see things I could improve upon in this message, by all means, respectfully educate me on how I can do better. That is how we all learn and work towards equality and unity. Not though nitpicking, anger, silence, becoming easily offended, or exchanging hateful words.
Listen. Change. Stand up for what is right. You are needed! So, whether I hear crickets in response, get chided, or get unfollowed, so be it. But, if I just help one aimless scroller see it differently and give them courage to stand up for what’s right, it is worth it!” (Repost from my Wholee Healthy page)