I wanted to share my thoughts on everything going on with Black Lives Matter & the Race Relations conversations going on in our country right now. I have spent a lot of time on this incredibly important issue and reflecting on what I can do to be better, so I figured I’d share 5 things I’m thinking about with everything going on.
1. What can I do as a white male to make things better? – By being born as a white male I was given a ton of privilege that I often take for granted. I never have to worry about walking around a neighborhood late at night or someone being scared of me just because of the color of my skin. Racism is a white person problem and things will get better from black people AND white people speaking up. It is my job to promote and advocate for policies and leaders that are anti-racist, and speak out when I see racism in action.
2. How can I be more empathetic? – Empathy is our ability and willingness to take notice of and be sensitive to other people’s needs and feelings. The more I can think of others and the emotions they are feeling, the more I can lean into this and make a difference. I’m taking time to listen, learn, and understand what black people are feeling and have been feeling for many, many years. If this turns into a conversation about other groups being discriminated against, we just get further away from making a difference for black people.
3. How can I push myself to my growth edge? I shared a picture several days ago on LinkedIn which highlighted phrases we would use when we are pushing ourselves to our growth edge when become an anti-racist. A couple of these statements really stuck out to me – “I sit with my discomfort” “I speak out when I see Racism in action” “I don’t let mistakes deter me from being better” and “I surround myself with others who think & look differently than me.” The last one I feel incredibly passionate about. I am committed to surrounding myself with people that are different from me because I think that is how we will make a difference in this country.
4. How can I educate myself on everything going on? I heard this quote from Brene Brown that really stuck with me, “I’m here to get it right, not to be right.” I’m going to make mistakes when having race relations conversations, but if I get afraid of making mistakes then growth won’t happen. I don’t know all the answers, but I’m committed to learning. I’ve spent a lot of time learning over the last few weeks and here is some of my favorite content:
- Netflix Show – 13th https://www.netflix.com/title/80091741
- Article – Dear White People: Here Are 5 Uncomfortable Truths Black Colleagues Need You To Know https://www.forbes.com/sites/danabrownlee/2020/06/16/dear-white-people-here-are-5-uncomfortable-truths-black-colleagues-need-you-to-know/#5861a1b9624e
- Letter – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. from the Birmingham Jail https://www.africa.upenn.edu/Articles_Gen/Letter_Birmingham.html
- Podcast – Brene Brown with Ibram X. Kendi https://brenebrown.com/podcast/brene-with-ibram-x-kendi-on-how-to-be-an-antiracist/
- Book – How to be an Anti-Racist https://www.ibramxkendi.com/how-to-be-an-antiracist-1
5. How can I bring my skills to make this situation better? In addition to my full-time job, I am a Certified Leadership Coach that loves working with athletes on their mental game. I am partnering with a good friend to create a program that helps high performing athletes in underserved communities get access to mental performance training. Additionally, the Nats Youth Academy is an organization I am incredibly passionate about that provides after school programs for underserved youth in DC. I’m having conversations with individuals at that organization about how we can better use my network and young professionals to help this underserved community in DC.
This is what I’m reading/doing/listening to… what are other people reading/doing/listening to? I’d love to hear it!!