Neutral simply isn't an option
The last few days have been extra heavy, which is notable when the whole year of 2020 has felt intense and amplified.
Another black breath stolen, and life lost.
The virus of white supremacy has proven to be the most deadly, vicious, and insidious of them all. It’s pervasiveness throughout American history shows its ability to tunnel deep into hiding, until it feels safe to rear its ugly head. Our very breath has been taken from us, and disproportionately so for black or brown bodies, or LGBTQ. Narratives erased, families destroyed, and tribes eradicated. The virus must be cut down at its source....yep white people. And if you are reading this and think that you’ve done your work, and I can’t possibly be talking to you....yes, you....I’m 100% talking to you. I’m also talking to myself. The work never ends because this virus is so sneaky, my own complacency gives it permission to show up. My silence allows it root down, and my waiting for someone else to do something is costing more black lives.
⚡️Neutral simply isn’t an option.⚡️
We are past the tipping point, and silence is most certainly violence. Speaking up doesn’t require perfect words, solutions, and there is no such thing as getting it right.
I’ve messed up more conversations around race than I’ve gotten “right”.
I’ve beaten myself up for speaking partially-formed opinions around people I respect.
I’ve experienced backlash when calling people in their bs.
I’ve centered myself in the conversation, and wanted praise for my newfound awareness around racial issues.
I used to be afraid of saying the wrong thing, or that by admitting my unconscious bias it somehow made me a bad person. Now, I’m fearful of the repercussions of my privileged silence.
“When one can see no future, all one can do is the next right thing” Frozen 2
Today’s life is far from a Disney movie, but the sentiment is even more powerful. It's challenging to look forward, or know which direction to take the first step. When the Charlotte riots of 2016 happened, I felt lost and my heart ached. Since then, I've floated in and out of activation, which is another proof of my inherent privilege. I've sat down to write these words a few times, and always either get sidetracked into researching other issues, or distracted with my own personal problems. Again, more of my privilege showing. I've made a recent commitment to myself that each day, I will take 1-3 action steps towards dismantling the system, and I will keep going until it's not necessary. Just like any practice, a daily commitment creates habits.
Excerpt from my very first blog in 2017, with updated resources
Being a “good person” and hoping my positive light will radiate out to others is no longer enough for me. I am still just one person, but I have enough fire and passion to send the whole world up in flames. The question remains, what can I do? I’ve read so many lists lately and I want to share just a few of the highlights of ways to impart change through action, not simply by sending love, light, and prayers.
1. Talk to each other. Talk to people in your cultural group, but also the people that scare you, the ones you feel you should lock your car doors when you see them, the ones who you think are different than you (pro tip: they aren't), and the ones who piss you off until you feel your blood boil. Talk to them to find out your differences, commonalities, hopes, and fears.
2. If you hear someone making a comment that is out of line, correct them. Too many times I’ve heard people say something that I didn’t agree with and I’ve remained silent. My silence was a missed opportunity to educate. My silence could have been misinterpreted as agreement when in fact it was just the opposite.
3. Fill your social media timeline with more diverse voices. I’m totally guilty of muting/unfollowing when I feel something other than “uplifted”. This is a powerful form of self-care AND it’s time to level-up your timeline with voices that may make you feel uncomfortable at first, and if you are willing to listen, you may learn something. Some of my current followings on IG:
4. Get uncomfortable and dive into those icky conversations. But dive in honestly, openly, and with pure intentions. One of the purposes of yoga (which, if you are unaware, is way more than the physical shapes you see on social media) is to uncover that which is hidden. It takes going into our own darkness and rooting around in the muck to notice those deep seeded, and often ugly, parts of ourselves.
5. Educate yourself. Here are a few resources I’ve found to be helpful:
White Fragility By Robin DiAngelo
Teaching Tolerance https://www.tolerance.org/
Netflix movies - "13th" "When They See Us"
6. Do you feel angry, sad, and/or guilty? Use those feelings as inspiration to ignite change. Get involved in your community, and not just the organizations with which you may have a personal connection. Find the organizations that are on the ground and take action. Bring your yoga to the people that can’t afford the studios or the fancy clothes. Donate your time, resources, and kindness in the neighborhoods outside of your bubble. Here are a few amazing, local Charlotte organizations that could use your help:
Are you a part of the revolution or are you in the way?
I challenge any “spiritual” person to sit with their own choices around speaking up or remaining silent.
Why are you choosing this way?
What are you afraid of losing?
Who are you afraid of losing?