June 6, 2020
My Reflections for the week
What I know, what I heard, what I learned
I had been involved in many conversations this week about racial injustice. People are rallying to the cause and many resources have been posted. It’s great, but honestly it has been overwhelming. Here are some things I heard, I learned, or I know.
I read “It’s not the job of black people to educate you, it’s your job to educate yourself. They are going through their own pain and grief”
I have seen and heard many book recommendations.
Then I heard “Why are you going to read a book, just talk to me”
I heard “I don’t think this conversation belongs in the workplace”
I heard “Our leaders need to do more, this does belong in the workplace”
I think my company’s leaders are doing a good job. I am giving compassion to my company’s leaders, because this is new to them. I heard from a white colleague who didn’t share that view with me. I heard from a black colleague who did share that view with me. Sure, racism isn’t new but this sudden uprising and crisis is. The important thing is that they are talking about it and are taking meaningful action.
I heard “A lot of people are rising up and acting now, but we have to make sure it continues”
I heard “I don’t know what to do because I haven’t experienced it, I can’t relate”
I heard “I want to have the conversation, but I am afraid I am going to say something wrong” but this person did open and lead a forum for conversation.
I had a conversation with someone, who hasn’t experienced much racism.
I had a conversation with someone who has experienced much racism.
I had a conversation with someone who experienced situations where it was like they were invisible.
I had a conversation with someone who has had blatant comments made to them in the workplace; it wasn’t reported; but the ignorance and lack of awareness was shocking.
I heard “You are one of only two people who have reached out to me”
I heard “We can speak up, but we may not be heard, we need you to speak up” I learned the word “Ally”
I heard “As long as you are genuine”, people will talk with you.
I heard the best thing you can do is Educate.
I am seeing that whether you want to do something or not is now causing a divide. I am even seeing some self-righteousness. This distresses me.
It’s been interesting to hear different people’s opinions and perspectives.
Not every white person is ignorant. Not every white person is racist.
Not every black person has the answers. Not every black person wants to talk.
You can’t do everything. This change won’t happen overnight. There is no magic bullet.
I am trying to pick a few things that I want to do, to start to make a difference.
I am talking to people, I am connecting with people, I want to learn how to be a good ally.
I started one book “How to be an Antiracist”. My 2nd book will be “The Inner Work of Racial Justice: Healing Ourselves and Transforming Our Communities Through Mindfulness”
If you don’t know how to reach out, this is what I said:
“I am thinking of you, and am recognizing that you may be having a difficult time; and if there is anything I can do to support you, please let me know. Also, I would like to offer whether you are comfortable having a conversation? I read an article that said “it’s not black people’s responsibility to educate you, it’s your responsibility”, but I have heard from a couple people that they don’t mind; that they would prefer to talk and connect. If you are open to conversation, let me know. I would like to know you and your story.”
Come from a genuine place of connection. I went into it making sure I focused on the person I was talking with. Hearing them, Seeing them, Actively listening to them, Connecting with them.
My intent was to get to know them, to hear their story. At the end of conversations, if it seemed right, I asked what I could do.
We have to be ok with being uncomfortable, or learn to be. It’s ok to say “I don’t know”…then follow it with “but I want to learn”
And always lead with respect, kindness and compassion.
I am not sharing this to say “Hey, look what I am doing”. I don’t have all the answers. I am sharing because it might help you. It might stir conversation. It might inspire you.
Many people are abhorred by the rioting and looting. I am too. I am not condoning violence. But…I have read that this is an emotional release for some people, from pent up anger, frustration and stress. It helps you understand it from a different perspective. I also read that in history, nothing was done unless rioting or looting happened.
Peaceful protests bring people together for a common cause and garner attention, but the rioting and looting sparked outrage, got more media attention, and got more people talking. And in appears, more action is happening.
Pay attention, speak up, connect, listen, let people know you care.
Educate. Act. Engage. Stand Together.