But make no mistake, it's taken the constant work of all of the humans who are black, indigenous, or people of colour (whos job it never was) to get here and it cannot become a revolution without you.
If what I've just said above makes you feel uncomfortable settle in my friends because discomfort is something we need to get much more comfortable with. We need to get okay with it if we truly want to be a part of the changes that need to happen.
You do have some options with that discomfort though.
You can choose to unsubscribe to my emails and website, choosing not to work with me.
You can choose to ignore this blog because you don't think you are racist.
You can choose to recognise your privilege and acknowledge that you want to know better and do better and read on.
Trust me when I say, I am not preaching at you. I recognise my privilege and the privileges that have been afforded to me simply because of the systemic institutionalised racism that the western world is built on.
But I have black friends right? I have friends from any and all cultures, races, ethnicities across the board. One of my best friends is multiracial. I'm a good person, a deeply spiritual person who believes in oneness. Right?
Here's the thing.
It's not enough to be not racist. As a fellow human being of the human race, I have to choose to become anti-racist. Because right now, in the world where I teach spiritual wholeness, wellness and mindfulness, in the world where I guide others into their empowerment, peace and presence- White lives matter more. The entire system that my work is based upon is tailored to make all the things I teach more accessible to white people and tailored to their (my) way of thinking and seeing the world.
At Dare To Be, I am complicit in that. I have been complicit in that. And my friends, so have you.
For us to move forward into a world where all lives matter, first we must recognise the system that we are a part of, created by our ancestors, specifically designed to make sure white lives matter more. We have to recognise our part in black lives mattering less. Are we consciously doing this? highly unlikely. But just because you don't know you are doing something or playing a part in something, doesn't make that right and with respect, if this is a revelation or a shock to you, ask yourself how many black people you know, follow on social media, buy from, work with, respect the music of, respect the poetry of.
My colleagues and I were talking this week.
For many of us, this isn't shocking. We follow social media accounts, talk to our black and people of colour friends, listen to the news. But and here's the big but. We have rarely vocalised it. Guess what, it's a privilege not to have to, because we don't need to deal with the daily oppression, attacks and systemic abuse, economic disparity, shit access to healthcare and mental health services and more faced by the BIPOC community. Because we don't do 'awful' things, its easy to push it to the side.
What we have realised is that our acknowledging and knowing isn't enough. We have our own work to do to become better humans. We fucked up. We are sorry. We are listening AND doing the work.
So what am I doing?
Firstly this week I've been taking part in the #elevatemelanisedvoices challenge set by Jessica Wilson MS RD and Black and Embodied over on Instagram. I've been shutting up and sharing the voices that are consistently drowned out by white voices in the social media community at large.
When I say I've been shutting up, I mean I've not been sharing my own thoughts and work-related stuff. But I've listened to what the black community are asking me to do and have been speaking out and calling out racism, white privilege and white fragility when I see it.
I've set up a book circle group on Facebook for anyone who is serious about wanting to do the work of recognising their privilege, combatting racism and changing the world. The work we are doing is based on the book Me and White Supremacy by Layla F Saad.
I've been listening to my non-white friends. Not for them to educate me. No, I've been checking in on them, and holding space to be whoever they need to be, while this entire world wants a piece of them because now they are trending.
I've been looking at areas of my work where I am not taking a whole world view. I'm looking at where I have taken ownership of words, techniques and spaces that don't belong to me and I'm educating myself on steps to change that. Not because that will make it right, or make me feel better, but because when we know better we do better. Do you know who said that? Maya Angelou. If you don't know who she is, we can't be friends cos frankly, where have you been your entire life!
Most of all, I've been listening and amplifying the voices who need to be heard and FYI friends, that's not us right now. Ironic I'm writing this blog then, right?
Why I'm writing this blog.
It's not the job of the BIPOC community to educate white people on where they need to start. They have been doing that for hundreds of years.
This is our job, my friends. It's our job to own what we don't know and go find it for ourselves. To discuss that stuff amongst our friends, to call out the stuff we see, to call ourselves out and direct people to resources, rather than place the burden onto the black community to hold us, tend our fragile egos and gently push us toward education. It's not okay. It's not okay to re-traumatise an entire people, so you can learn and feel better about what you just found out about yourself. #Sorrynotsorry
What can you do?
Call out racism when you see it. Not just the clear arsehole kind. The soft, veiled 'don't know any better' kind.
Redirect white people to resources that you know about when you see them asking BIPOC to do it for them.
Call out behaviours like white fragility when you see it.
Correct people (even your family) if you see them quoting All Lives Matter or using white peoples deaths or struggles as justification.
Pay BIPOC for their time, resources, emotional labour.
Educate yourself and share that with others openly.
Acknowledge when you fuck up, without centring it back on yourself and aim to do better. Then actually do better.
Recognise you will feel discomfort. See it as your friend to help you become a better fucking human than you were yesterday.
Do the work. Because it is ridiculous that it's taken you this long to recognise you are part of the problem, simply by not becoming against it actively.
Resources to get you started.
Me and White Supremacy by Layla F Saad (link in the post further up)
Me and White Supremacy group work on Facebook
Why I'm no longer talking to people about race by Reni Eddo-Lodge
White Fragility by Robin Diangelo
How to be an Antiracist by Ibram X Kendi
If you want to learn Early African history look here by Robin Walker
Listen to Rachel Cargle
Stop talking and start listening
Look at your own beliefs and conditioning.
Watch 13th. Its on Netflix
Watch Do the right thing.
Watch Get Out.
Donate to Black Lives Matter
Donate to Ida B Wells Society
Donate to Show Rasicm the Red Card
Donate to Black Lives Matter UK
To finish, I highly doubt anyone who follows and reads my work is outwardly racist. (If you are, please just do everyone a favour and fuck off)
But you see, they aren't the dangerous ones. The dangerous ones are we, who sit on the inner systemic racism our privilege is built on, which continues to make it a world that can be horrified by the murder of another black man, woman or child and then go back to our comfortable white life afterwards. it's up to each of us to do the work. Its life long work. It's not a week of amplifying voices then returning to your lives. It's real, inner and outward change and action. And only we can do that.