a few thoughts on anti-racism and how we can do better

There’s so much anger and sadness in the world today, and rightfully so. Up until this point, I’ve been pretty quiet- on my blog, on social media, and online in general. 

Part of that is because I just didn’t know what to say. Honestly, I still don’t.

But I recognize that silence is part of the problem. 

About two weeks ago, George Floyd was killed by a police officer. Another unarmed black man murdered by a system that’s finally being exposed as the inherently white supremicist institution it’s always been. 

It’s disgusting, upsetting, and vile.

But that’s not what I’m here to talk about.

Not because it doesn’t deserve attention, but because so many others are covering the issue in greater detail and with more expertise than I have to offer here. If you’re not already doing so, I urge you to educate yourself. 

Watching these videos is a good place to start:

Trevor Noah’s brilliant comments on the social contract
John Oliver on the broken police system

Examining my own role in racism

I’ve never thought of myself as racist. I still don’t. You probably don’t either.

But recent events and the national call for change has triggered an outpouring of personal emotions. 

Coronavirus quarantine combined with witnessing brutal acts of explicit racism have led so many of us to sit with ourselves and examine our own attitudes and beliefs toward race.

This is heavy work.

And it’s so, so important.

If you feel angry, confused, or even depressed, you’re not alone.

The feelings I’m grappling with most are shame and guilt.

I started to express those feelings in my most recent instagram post:

View this post on Instagram

Even on social channels, I’m a pretty shy person who’s always felt reluctant to speak up. Now, it’s time to move past all that and take a stand 💪🏾 I consider myself compassionate, but no level of empathy will make me understand the reality that BIPOC (black, indigenous, people of color) face in America. I’ve never worried about whether I’d get discriminated against or shot at based on the color of my skin. I’ve never thought twice about running through a park wearing a hoodie and I don’t live with a persistent fear that wears on my body, mind, and spirit. This is my privilege as a white woman and, despite my claims of woke-ness, it’s not something I’ve ever acknowledged publicly. I know that that’s part of the problem. That’s why, over these past weeks, I’ve committed to change. I’ve had uncomfortable conversations about race. I’ve written letters, donated money, and purchased items from black-owned businesses. But I’ve also faced real fear around going out and protesting. I wanted to protest in Bangor on Friday when Trump visited Maine despite being unwelcome here. But I stayed home for fear of getting arrested or worse by Trump’s private riot crew. I felt deep shame about that, especially when I see my friends out there protesting. I will continue to protest and raise hell in every way I can. I’m sorry I haven’t spoken up sooner. This issue deserves all of our attention. You have a right to be angry. Black lives matter. I admire every one of you out there fighting for change. Let me know how I can help us build a better world together ✊🏻✊🏼✊🏽✊🏾✊🏿

A post shared by Lauren Steinheimer (@laurensteinheimer) on

The response to that post helped me realize that I’m not the only one who feels this way.

My greatest sense of guilt is around Ahmaud Arbery’s story. As a runner myself, this one hit especially close to home.

Even though this story was deeply disturbing, I failed to acknowledge it on my blog or on social media. And I feel like I should have. 

I should have confronted the horror that his story exposed instead of turning from it.

Maybe I had a lot of other projects going on at the time, but when I really sit with it, I can see that I made excuses to avoid it.

Because commenting on the topic of racism made me uncomfortable. And the more I sit with that, the more I can see how that was me contributing to this larger problem.

When it comes down to it, I was afraid of saying the wrong thing. 

Because, no matter how open my mind and my heart are, I’ve only ever experienced the world first-hand as a white woman.

I know that there’s a lot I’m missing because of that. There’s a lot I don’t understand.  

But now I see that, even if I do say the wrong thing and get criticized or corrected for it, I can use that as a learning experience.

I’ll admit, I’ve never made it a priority to educate myself about racism. But, now, I’m committed to learning.

I recommend this podcast as a first step in learning about anti-racism

I’m going to leave off here for now.

But I promise to keep doing the work and checking in here.

If you want to keep in touch, please sign up for my email list:

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PS – I edited my last post on EFT tapping to remove the link to Jenna Kutcher’s podcast. Recent events have brought to light how poorly Jenna has handled race relations in the past and exposed her as a completely un-relatable, out-of-touch, and self-serving person. I no longer follow her accounts or support her work in any way.

Saying no to what no longer serves your highest self is part of personal development. I’m all for the collective change that’s happening right now and looking forward to building a better future.

Wellness

Lauren Steinheimer View All →

Freelance writer. Trail runner. Relentless savage.

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