Mirrors can be helpful when you want to check how you look on the outside…and at the same time, they can reveal things you want to ignore and pretend aren’t there (even things that are on the inside).
Over the past few months I’ve been working on a blog series for ECE leaders. The series is all about how to be a stress detective and help the adults we support thrive in their work and life.
Since then, I’ve been learning with my coach Ijumaa Jordan about how some of my words (spoken and written) uphold White Supremacy and cause harm.
I’m sharing this recording, and the original as well as revised content (below), as a first step in repairing the harm I’ve caused.
I’m also sharing to invite critical analysis of what I originally created and discover additional steps I can take to correct the information and repair the harm.
Here is a brief summary of the three things I discuss in the audio recording in terms of what I’ve learned so far and that guided my revisions to date.
- By universalizing and stating that “all lives” matter, I deracialized the “Black Lives Matter” movement. In other words, I minimized the impact of racism and the racial context of the phrase. I “shut down” or dismissed the “urgent need to protect Black people from a criminal justice system”. See more in an article by Maisha Z. Johnson on “Ways Well-Intentioned People Whitesplain Racism“
- I remained neutral on the topic of racism and perpetuated colorblindness. Again, minimizing and erasing the harm caused when “we don’t see color“. See Day 8 from Layla F. Saad’s “Me and White Supremacy” for more on colorblindness.
- Instead of taking anti-racist actions, or critically examining and discussing racism, because of my own discomfort and uncertainty of how to be anti-racist, I turned “anti-racism” into an attribute. Instead of offering concrete actionable steps on how leaders can be anti-racist, I made what Ijumaa Jordan helped me to understand, which was a performance gesture. One that made me appear to be an ally, just by suggesting leaders “should be anti-racist”. Refer to the final bullet in right hand column of original download for an illustration of the error I made.
I share the original content, not to re-traumatize or continue causing harm, but to allow for a critical analysis.
- Click here for the original audio
- Click here for the original transcript
- Click here for the original download
NOTE: In the original download I’ve added red font to highlight the problematic and harmful phrases I used, which in turn guided the audio portion of the post.