Be the Change
Updated: Nov 18, 2020
These past several weeks, I have had the privilege to facilitate several group dialogues as well as have discussions in my practice regarding how to become better allies and help dismantle systemic racism. Similar themes have surfaced that many stay quiet because they are afraid to mess up when trying to be supportive or they don’t know how to have these difficult conversations.
To non-Black person of color and white allies; if you’re interested in doing anti-racism work understand that we will mess up, we may say the wrong things and be misinterpreted, even though we are trying. But do them anyway, because it is too important not to. The most effective way to tackle issues of privilege and systemic bias is to name them, talk about them and take personal responsibility to change them. We cannot be afraid to mess up because that is how we learn, that is how we grow.
When corrected, our response system may automatically go into defense mode. Be aware of this, as your awareness can help you stay calm, let your defenses down, so you can have the capability for openness. Although I understand that I cannot rehabilitate a client with racist views or educate someone who’s not interested in expanding their perspective, I am committed to doing more to help amplify the voices of the oppressed.
Change comes from within. Anti-racism work starts with you. Commit to educating yourselves on racial injustice. Listen to their stories and sit with it. Recognize your own biases. Be open and non-defensive when corrected. Most importantly, model this to your children, your families, friends and colleagues. Lead by example. Be the change. Be consistent. Stay persistent.