It has been a heavy past couple of weeks here in the United States with all of the emotions that came with witnessing the death of George Floyd, an African American whose life was taken by a white man in a position of power.
As the video of his death went viral across the Internet, it triggered a strong response that brought to light the racial tension and systemic power issues that are still very much built into the fabric of America.
People responded with peaceful and not so peaceful protests and a stirring of racial conversations that came with some heated exchanges on social media.
If there’s one thing to come from these conversations, it’s that we can’t keep saying we agree to disagree on the subject of racism in America.
The truth is, the United States was built because of Black people and the ownership of slaves. It’s part of our history. It’s literally built into who we are as a country.
What needs to come from these important conversations is a discussion of how we can begin to heal these ancient racial wounds.
For many this feels uncomfortable, especially for the white Americans who choose to ignore what’s happening or aren’t sure how to respond or what to say because they haven’t experienced the impacts of systemic racism in a negative way.
We are born into a system where it’s easier for the white American to remain uneducated about racial concerns because they don’t know that the problem is ignorance or the lack of desire to wake up.
Being white comes with a certain amount of privilege in America and for those who experience that from the get-go, we don’t relate to it, because we don’t have to.
One of the primary obstacles to overcome when it comes to racial justice is the lack of curiosity from white Americans about the crimes of the past, and how the actions of our ancestors and the power structure set in place early on, lend way to systems, policies and systemic power, especially from the white people in power.
If we are to begin healing our country’s racial wounds, the first step comes from building awareness and choosing curiosity over judgement, especially when it comes to the hard emotions that can be triggered by the deep racial trauma built into the heartbeat of America.
This deep curiosity needs to address what really happened in the places where we live? What emotions of pain and power are built into the racial division in America?
And for the white Americans, now is the time to listen to the response of Black Americans. What are their experiences being Black in America? What emotions have recent events stirred up for them?
Storytelling is the gateway to truly understanding the human experience. Asking questions and hearing stories of others helps connect us together. It helps us to better understand each other.
As someone with white privilege it’s easier to look away from the hard parts and how our actions or lack of action continues to feed into a power structure that repeats the historic trauma of our country.
White Americans can no longer remain ignorant about how our ancestors’ violent past played into this volatile present. We can no longer remain ignorant about this strife that threatens to tear us apart.
We have to become aware of what the issues are if we’re going to be able to create change.
From the looks of the top selling books on Amazon right now, it’s clear that many Americans are ready to educate themselves about racial issues.
This could be taken as a sign that we’re moving in the right direction. People are choosing to invest into learning more about systemic racism and the realities of being Black in America.
To help feed curiosity and build awareness about systemic racism, Black history and experiences in America, white privilege and fragility, please check out the following resources:
We need these important conversations right now, but for them to be productive they need to come from intimate, heart-centered curiosity with other human beings. Being present and listening in these conversations is the way to start to heal this collective trauma.
Along with pain is certainly to come other emotions like anger, which may feel uncomfortable for some, but in the end this is the emotion that often stirs change.
We have to collectively feel the emotions of the pain George Floyd’s death triggered if we’re going to be able to grow from this. We must acknowledge and hold space for the anger, the sadness, the release of generations of pain tied into the Black American experience.
Here at SpiralMethod we help equip group leaders with the tools to lead others into important heart centered conversations that connect and transform your clients and group members. We teach you how to effectively lead these important conversations, built upon a foundation of trust that creates a safe space to share and be vulnerable.
Learn more about SpiralMethod and join us for our free live weekly SpiralMethod Experiences, where the sole purpose is to connect and converse. Join the conversation here.