Entry 60: Where are you on your anti-racism journey?

AccidentalPerfectionistBlog

Here are phases i see people flowing through on their anti-racism journey. Where do you find yourself? Are you struggling or finding ease there? What are you doing to nourish yourself? What do you notice about how rest supports your efforts on the other areas?

Learn
-If you’re new to #antiracism , start here. Read/listen to experiences of Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) in books or on social media. Seek multiple sources because no one person can speak for an entire race. 
– Pls do not ask BIPOC to do this work with you without offering something in exchange.
– Consider these questions: what history or contemporary experiences of BIPOC have i been unaware of? Where was i (or where were my ancestors) during those events, and what was the impact on BIPOC? Do i feel any resistance, or defensiveness? Was there harm done, and is it possible to make any amends for that harm?
– Practice non-judgmental listening, reducing defensiveness and acknowledging privilege. These skills will reduce harm during cross-racial dialogues.

Evolve (your life)
-Examine your habits, relationships, and the way you invest your time, money, energy and attention. 
-Consider these questions: With this awareness of impact of history on BIPOC, what parts of my life feel out of alignment with my stated values? Are there shifts and changes i need to make in order to live within my integrity?
– Set intentions for those shifts, and share them with a coach or a trusted friend who can be supportive of your evolution. 
– This phase will likely cause discomfort. Care for yourself through the evolution. 

Advocate
-Take your learning out into the world. 
-Consider these questions: What areas of injustice are of importance to me? What organizations/ have already been active in that area? Can i support, amplify, conspire with them? 
-What assets do i bring to the work? What are the communities, institutions, districts i have influence in? What are obstacles for me to be a conscious ally? 
-Know what you need for rejuvenation. Plan for when you may feel the need for validation or ally cookies.

This work is hard, but i know each of us has the capacity for this work. 
#blacklivesmatter 
#consciouswhiteally 
#socialjustice

Entry 59: Dear Allies, What can you learn from #AmyCooper?

Uncategorized

Dear Allies,

What can you learn from #AmyCooper?

While watching the video of white #AmyCooper calling the police on Black #ChristianCooper, who did you relate to in the scenario?   Did you feel an urge to protect Amy or to find explanations for her emotions?   Pay attention to whatever it was you felt, because that is an opening for you to do the **internal** work of anti-racism.  That internal work is a **pre-requisite** to serving as an ally. 

Without doing self-examination, there is a chance you can do more harm to Black people.  All people in the dominant culture have done harm, whether you are aware of it or not.  The question is, are you open to learning about how to reduce the harm?  If yes, keep reading.  If you’re unable to right now, come back and finish reading at another time.

i believe Amy felt scared and threatened.  But why did she initially feel threatened and why did she become increasingly more distressed, when Christian did not move any closer to her throughout the time she was on the phone?  “There is a man, African American, he has a bike helmet.  He is recording me and threatening me and my dog….  [under more duress] I’m being threatened in the Ramble! Please send a cop immediately!”  

As a woman in a male dominated society, it is very possible that she may have had an experience where she, or someone she knew, was physically harmed by a man.  That could certainly trigger a threat response (fight, flight, freeze) in Amy.

But she also mentioned that the man threatening her was African American.  That piece of information was unnecessary and gives us a clue into her subconscious.  

i think somewhere in her subconscious, she has associations of Black men harming white women.  Those associations are planted throughout our TV shows and movies, news, and history books.  This is her #unconsciousbias playing out.  With that unconscious conditioning, her stress reaction is not surprising. 

So, what could help Amy bring the unconscious into consciousness?  Maybe she could read the history of #EmmettTill, a 14-year old Black boy who was accused of grabbing and menacing 21-year old Carolyn Bryant, a white grocery store worker in 1955.  Carolyn’s husband and brother-in-law kidnapped Emmett, then beat him and drowned him in a river.  When he was found, his face was unrecognizable.  An all-white jury found them not guilty.  Ten years later, the men publicly admitted they committed the murder.  Decades later, the woman admitted to exaggerating the claims. 

Amy’s unexamined bias turned itself into a weapon, as she played the role of a white damsel in distress.  White men also play a role in that narrative – to protect and avenge the honor of ‘their’ white women- just as Carolyn’s family did when justifying to themselves that they could murder a 14-year old child in 1955. 

Let’s play out the scenario with Amy and Christian: imagine the police show up.  Imagine they are white. Imagine they see a damsel in distress, and their own unexamined bias triggers them to action.  Amy’s #weaponizedwhiteness could have caused harm or death to a Black man who was birdwatching in broad daylight.  I am utterly grateful this showdown did not occur that day.   

I believe most of us don’t want to cause harm.  But it can happen, unless we are willing to make the unconscious conscious by learning the history, and reflecting on our reactions.  This can help override #unexaminedbias.

If you want more on #weaponizingwhiteness, watch Episode 1 of #WhenTheySeeUs, directed by #AvaDuvernay on #Netflix.  Reflect on how #LindaFairstein weaponizes her position of power in this true story (that also occurred in Central Park).

If you want a brave space to examine your unconscious, DM me.  I can help you become a #consciouswhiteally.

With fierce love,

Monica

#blacklivesmatter

Entry 57: Breonna Taylor

AccidentalPerfectionistBlog
I clean up the dishes from dinner, wipe down the counter top.  
I tell Ken that I’m heading to sleep.  
I brush my teeth, change out of my clothes, and get into my bed.  
I think about the next day - it’ll be a busy one.  
It’s been busy on the ambulance - the pandemic is starting to hit us in Louisville, 
and we have a lot of elderly who are at risk.  
I love my job, and know it is important work, especially now.  
Ken gets into bed awhile later, kisses me and we go to sleep.  

In the middle of the night, I awake, startled, by thundering noises, 
it sounds like a train coming through my front door.  
Someone breaks down the door.  What is that? I ask Ken.  I hear foot steps.  
Are we being robbed?  Are they going to kill us?  
Ken grabs his gun, he fires shots at the door.  
They return fire. I don’t know how many times.  
Eight of the bullets hit me.  
I am dead.  

I find out later, 
That they were police who 
Shot and killed me.  
Police who broke down my door. 
Police who forced entry into my house 
In the middle of the night 
Without showing a warrant, 
Without reading us our rights.  
In the middle of the night.
In my house.
I did not resist a warrant.
I did not resist arrest.
I was asleep 
At my home 
In the middle of the night.
At my home
In the middle of the night.

In memory of Breonna Taylor (1994-2020)