It’s taken me a little while to sit down and write something about the Black Lives Matter movement, or any matter regarding white fragility, privilege, or systemic racism that is. I blew it off as, “I didn’t know what to say”, “I thought I didn’t have anything worth saying”, or “I thought this was the Black communities opportunity to say something.” But really, I just didn’t sit with it enough. I didn’t let myself feel the hurt and pain of the country. I kept myself busy with life, subconsciously putting aside the suffering that others were going through. I think I (and probably a lot of other people) tend to do this when something painful is happening around me. It’s a way to keep the ego safe. It’s a form of bypassing the reality of the situation, or the root of the issue.
What I didn’t realize about not saying anything, was that this (I) was actually part of the problem. Sure, I reposted videos I saw, participated in a peaceful protest, and made my yoga classes inspiring others to make a change in themselves, but I didn’t make an active effort to speak about racism. I didn’t make an active effort to speak about my white privilege. About how I am still benefitting in the world by my fair skin color. I mean, it’s a privilege that I even have a computer to write this with, and the time to dedicate to addressing it. After researching more into white fragility and privilege I’ve realized that, in the short term, it’s this conversation that needs to happen more than anything else. The conversation that addresses how white people feel discomfort when racism is brought up. Or the discomfort about our privilege. How we feel defensive when we’re told we’ve benefitted in the world because we feel, it’s been “hard” for us too. Or if we are confronted with the accusation of making a racist insinuation. No one wants to feel like a bad person.
I want all of this to be a conversation. I want to talk about skin color and race and gender and culture and religion and how ultimately, these are all just small variances to our humanness. Small variances that can either be judgmentally viewed as being “different”, or variances to be celebrated. How these differences are the things that make the world interesting and full of variety. Just like how nature has jungles and forests and deserts and different external landscapes to view, humans have different external appearances and groups we belong to. And it’s true that people have their preferences as to which landscape they’d rather spend their time in, but no one tells them their wrong if they’d rather spend their time in a forest or on a beach.
These conversations need to happen if we’re going to change our consciousnesses to, at the core of our beings, view each other as equals. To know, from the bottom of our hearts, that each person we meet and come into contact with, has a part to play in our lives. Each person can help us learn and grow from, regardless of their background. And how we’re alllll connected. Trust me, I’m still working on this too, but I’m doing my best to educate myself on the best practices to help myself heal the white “supremacy” that lingers inside me, due to the system I was born into.
The reality of the situation is that observing differences is not going to end. Having different colored skin will not end. There will always be black, white, brown, yellow, olive, etc. skinned people. And granted human’s eye balls’ don’t evolve to stop picking up on color and tone, we’ll always notice the color variances. Just like we notice the variances in the environment or the weather around us; observing differences will never end. What we can start to heal as a collective, is our innate reactions to the differences. The stereotypes and the labels that go with the colors. If we remind ourselves daily, that we are no better or worse than our neighbors, and that each person is actually just another person with their own self doubts, pains, and struggles on the inside, we can start to heal from the inside out. I think it comes with a daily practice of this, not avoiding the situation, and having the conversation. Having the conversation with your friends, family’s, and if possible – enemies. I believe we’re healing as a collective, slowly but surely. We’re waking up to the connection of all things and all beings. And while there may be some pain and discomfort, this is our opportunity to evolve.