Updated: Jan 16
If racism won't kill us, internalized oppression will.
When white folks are uncomfortable, BIPOC folks must RESIST THE URGE to step in and fight for the return of their comfort and ease. I understand that this is a conditioned survival response, that we have been socialized to prioritize white pain above our own, that there is angst in asking them to be the ones to clean up racism. But the price we pay if they don't get it done is far too great. Personally, I am done paying with my body, my mind, my oft-times broken spirit. I would rather sit quietly while white folks squirm in their fragility and guilt and as they stumble through asking for forgiveness and calling out their people. Frankly speaking, this is LIGHT WORK. Let's allow them to carry these burdens that have been ours for a few hundred lifetimes.
For meeting spaces and the increasing regularity in which companies/organizations/groups/schools will likely be having these discussions with white folks and BIPOC folks present, I would like to offer some ideas to help BIPOC folks #RESISTTHECAPE when we start feeling uncomfortable about white folks' discomfort:
STAY SILENT and...
-Doodle through it -Bring a journal and write down what you would have said to create safety for your white counterparts. Find a BIPOC partner or space where you can share and process these thoughts at a later time. -Play or sing a song that makes you feel safe and loved. If it's inconvenient for you to do either of these things, have the lyrics handy for you to read through. -Text a friend and share how uncomfortable you are feeling. -Pull up a picture of someone you love and whose life is being saved by these conversations. Keep that picture up throughout the conversation.
For generations, white folks have not needed black folks, indigenous folks and other people of color to feel comfort. For generations, without permission, they have taken it for themselves. When it comes to anti-racism work and dismantling white supremacy, we must become comfortable in allowing them to keep that same energy in finally fighting, on our behalf, for our rightful place in society-- a COMFORT that, for generations, we have been deprived of and that has ultimately cost us our lives.