Racism and Relationships

Black Lives Still Matter

This is uncomfortable. It’s inconvenient to have protests. And it’s certainly not right that people are vandalizing property and looting businesses. Being polite will get them a lot farther than being angry. If someone disagrees with the status quo they can leave. It’s disrespectful to the flag and people who serve. When is it going to end?

Have you said or thought any of these statements above?


Just because something has been done a certain way up until now doesn’t make it right,  doesn’t mean it has to be done this way forever and more so – it doesn’t mean it was ever implemented for good intent in the first place. 


In my naivety I thought that our justice system and system of policing were simply broken. And I thought it was just a matter of time before it would be repaired. I’ve since learned that it is not broken, that the systemic racism that accounts for incarcerating and killing disproportionately high numbers of Black men and Black women – and the socio-economic system that keeps them and Black children disproportionately economically disadvantaged – is an outgrowth of the system of capturing runaway slaves. It’s not broken, it is working exactly the way it was intended to work. That is a sobering thought.


To those of you who are in alignment with any of the statements in the first paragraph, if you’re still reading, I will say this: 


You must be uncomfortable to grow. Change is disruptive and uncomfortable. If politeness worked to effect change then Colin Kaepernick’s kneeling during the national anthem would have ended the offensive practices of police brutality and a white police officer wouldn’t have knelt on the neck of George Floyd for 8 minutes and 46 seconds. And another wouldn’t have killed Breonna Taylor while she slept in her own bed.


But politeness didn’t work did it? Why? Because the people who are outraged over the protests and calling them riots – which they are not – are the same people who were incensed that Colin Kaepernick took a knee in silence.


See how that works? It’s called damned if you do and damned if you don’t. Those people don’t want change, period. And they are going to complain about anything that is done to force them to confront the issues, They are going to resist any effort to see what is happening and how it makes them feel.


Relationships With Ourselves 

In this space we talk about relationships. What does that mean for racism? You can use relationships with other people as a way to make yourself happy, as in finding someone you believe is the reason you are feeling happy, (which is an entirely different conversation) or you can harness the power of your relationships as a vehicle to change and grow personally. I suggest you choose the second option, always, and that work is going to start with your relationship with yourself. And that entails being willing to examine all your thoughts, especially the ones buried so far down in your soul you’re not even aware you’re thinking them.


Believing that I wasn’t racist because I see people of all races as individuals and God’s children, I also didn’t see myself as entitled.

This morning I finally confronted myself on that issue. I’ve lived in my current home for many years and I love it. It plays center stage in most of my gratitude journaling. I’ve always said that I didn’t like that my neighborhood was predominately white when I first moved in and I’m happy that over the years it has become much more racially mixed. But I never put two and two together. I have never, up until now realized that I would not have gotten this apartment if I weren’t white. I never said it before, I never allowed myself to even think it before.


And now I have. I saw it. I said it. I felt embarrassed. I felt shame for not ever seeing it before. That’s all. Now I move forward and I grow. Recriminations won’t help me do anything useful. Beating up on myself, wallowing, wanting to share my discovery and obtain absolution from someone – not helpful. 


If you want to help create change in this moment in the world, start with yourself. Change yourself, grow yourself, learn what you need to learn and then start implementing it, because when you grow society is also growing with you.

Relationships With Ourselves Going Forward

Get curious, not judgmental. Judging yourself for what you are discovering will not help you change. Having judgemental thoughts will create feelings of self-loathing and self-disgust and those are not feelings that will lead you to take useful, positive actions. (Just like when you try to lose weight by hating your body. That sh*t does not work.)


My offer to you is that it will be hard. It will hurt. It will feel terrible. It will be embarrassing. It may be the most discomfort you have felt in a very long time. And if you want to live in a society that is markedly different than the one we have right now, it will be worth it. Do it for yourself and know that I am creating change by doing this work with and for myself, right alongside you.


If you want to create change in your relationships or in yourself, and you don’t know how to start, please schedule a time for us to speak.  https://lenaecoachsession.as.me/