As a white woman, who loves a black man in 2020.
As a woman who loves a black man with her whole being, a woman who will have bi-racial children that are made from our love, to live in our society is quite terrifying and a breeding ground for fear. A fear that is very real and valid.
This black man also ends up being 6’1 and a lifelong wrestler & former MMA fighter, when others see him they are intimidated by his size and stoic demeanor, by the way he holds his chest and head high with pride and integrity, they see a threat — yet when I look at him I see the love of my life, the father of my future children, with the biggest heart, a morally intact human with feelings, a man who has grown up in the church — a lover of God, a man with such resiliency, distress tolerance and strength (so much so that I often get annoyed and also envy how thing’s don’t really bother him).
As a helper & healer, I have devoted my life to holding space for other people’s pain, agony, grief, and trauma. Social justice and anti-racism work are a major part of mental health work. They co-exist simultaneously. Individuals cannot experience healing while living in a traumatic environment. I have made it my duty, quite literally, to educate and prepare myself to be there for others in their time of need. I have prepared myself by taking countless courses, skill building classes, soaking in all the multicultural & diversity courses offered in my undergrad & graduate education, 7.5 years total. I have immersed myself in various real-life experiences and internships where I was forced out of my privileged comfort zone to connect with people that are DIFFERENT than me, this was very intentional and served me well.
And I still don’t understand, I will never understand, or even come close to understanding what it is like to be a person of color in America.
What I do understand is fear — the panic and fear of my boyfriend not returning home from the store, the twists and turns my stomach does when he texts me “got pulled over”, the heaviness in my chest that feels like it could combust as I wait for a message from him to let me know he is ALIVE. The helplessness that turns into irritability and pure anger as I see him mistreated by others for simply existing, as I stand right next to him.
I didn’t apprehend when I first started dating a man of color that what would come with the love is also the underlying, unspoken constant worry and terror about his well-being. The only way I can try to describe it is a voice, an aching one, that at times is like a low whisper — although it is NEVER silent, always humming, and at other times it’s the loudest, MOST throbbing noise, the only thing I can focus on, it keeps me up at night, distracted, while I lay in his arms as he sleeps, watching his chest rise & fall, wondering why anyone would want to harm this beautiful human. Why would someone want to put a bullet in him? Why would someone want to stop his breath from circulating? I often find myself wondering at what age did he go from a “cute & handsome little boy” to a threat to others?
I will never understand what it feels to be him, in his body, of color, to endure his pain, his trauma, his ancestral trauma due to our nation’s unjust foundation and culture. What I can understand and learn is how to be an ally of the #BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) community, which at this point is taking ACTION.
If you have the privilege of being white, you have power, it does not negate any trauma, pain or hardships you have endured in your life — NO one is saying that, (so, please don’t come for me in the comments) — it simply means that because others perceive you as white, you have built in power & force.
Use it for GOOD, start exploring what bias’ and narratives you hold for those who are different from you, “others”, in every shape, way, form, capacity. THEN challenge all those beliefs & truths, literally write them down and re-create new beliefs. I believe in you, you can do it. You will feel shame and embarrassment — it WILL be uncomfortable, sit with your discomfort, it’s the least you can do right now.
Start to then have those vulnerable and hard conversations with your loved ones, especially the ones that are resistant in doing so — perhaps it’ll be just you talking AT them for a while, then set RIGID boundaries with those who refuse to look at the reality of our society’s discrimination and injustice, tell them that you will not tolerate their discrimination any longer.
This is a human’s rights issue, and you are a human.
Your power lies in your actions, with words and your MONEY. STOP SUPPORTING BUSINESSES THAT ARE SILENT ABOUT INJUSTICE & RACISM! That means local small business as well as the huge corporations. They will hurt, it will suck for them BUT hurt causes action through change, then and only then will they will start to listen. This brings me to discuss the protesting and looting, I am NO expert by any means — but to put it plainly, property can be rebuilt, a human LIFE IS PRICELESS (yes, I’m talking to all of you #prolife people). You MUST understand that when words don’t work, pleas aren’t being acknowledged, and justice is not happening fast enough, VIOLENCE seems to be the only resort — we know this historically! Do not gas light their actions (google it), do NOT judge, do NOT complain, shut your mouth about it unless you are speaking against the injustice and culture of our society. — you WILL never understand that level of helplessness.
CHECK IN WITH YOUR PEOPLE — those of the #BIPOC community are constantly re-traumatized each time that a person of color is murdered, and it is televised for our nation to see. This intergenerational trauma has been passed down for hundreds of years within the #BIPOC community, they have been displaced, murdered, stolen from, sabotaged, scapegoated and HURT for anothers benefit. If you want to understand trauma further and how it effects individuals, communities, and whole systems, please check out the resources I have attached below, or feel free to message me — this is what I do.
I urge you to be brave, we need bravery right now within the non #BIPOC community. Bravery and vulnerability go hand in hand, it is the highest form of courage. It is going to be hard, awkward, and uncomfortable –YOU CAN DO HARD THINGS! (thanks Glennon Doyle). Thank you for taking the time to read this and hold space for my vulnerability, I hope it has shifted something for you.
If you have nothing nice to say, please read through the attached resources below and if you STILL have nothing nice to say… well, shit, idk — I urge you to ask yourself why you are tightly attached to your reality, is it that fragile or threatened? I wish you well.
I will update these resources as I come across them:
- Harvard created an implicit bias test many years ago, it will take a few minutes and it is FREE. This will help you discover your bias’s — we all have them, most are unconscious, yet they control how we feel about others, take this to become more aware https://implicit.harvard.edu/implicit/takeatest.html
- Prompts to facilitate exploration & conversations about White Supremacy written by Lisa Olivera
- Please register and pay for Rachel’s self-paced, self-priced online learning collective: The Great Unlearn at @thegreatunlearn
- For white women specifically to do the work.
- What You Can Do
- How to talk your kids about race, multiple resources
- Raising little allies a free download + workbook
Follow these #BIPOC leaders, diversify your feed:
- Advocate + Therapist Rachel Cargle https://www.instagram.com/rachel.cargle/
- Artist + Advocate Morgan Harper Nichols
- Follow Alishia McCullough @blackandembodied
- Follow Jessica Wilson, MS. RD @jessicawilson.msrd
- Author, Spiritual Writer + Advocate Lalah Delia
- Healer Ayo Agundipe
- Author of Me & White Supremacy Layla Saad
Educate yourself + read these books:
o White Fragility AND Me and White Supremacy by Robin DiAngelo
o Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria by Beverly Daniel Tatum
o Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
o (For younger children)The Skin I’m In: A First Look at Racism by Pat Thomas
o White Rage: The Unspoken Truth of Our Racial Divide by Carol Anderson
For more vulnerable & real talks follow me on my holistic healing page to connect! 🖤