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Words have power. We hold these truths to be self evident…Our Father who art in heaven…We the people…Do not go gentle into that good night…
You get the picture I guess? Words can inspire, or destroy. We can be led into war, or we can be inspired to beat our swords into plowshares. There’s a reason Magic is invoked by a SPELL.
So, yesterday a friend who is white asked me a beautiful question and we had a lovely conversation. One of those conversations you always hear people talking about, and wish to have. The friend wanted to know how they could support and embrace diversity without being racist. They felt that they did not see color. How could they encourage their minority students, but at the same time not single them out for being black, and therefore stigmatize them even more.
This person is someone I love dearly, and they are coming from an honest, open, searching place. Having these kinds of conversations, using our words- is what we need to do as a country. This is where race relations begin to heal and, prosper and grow into an amazing, peaceful place. See I don’t think the goal should ever be a post racial society. Embracing diversity requires SEEING people. Namaste. Like the real namaste. I can’t see the divine in you, if I erase your race and heritage.
So this is what I said to this friend. If you have an open, honest conversation, and say that you wish to celebrate everyone’s individuality, then that includes a person and their race. Inquire how race, influences a person, and their view of the world. What is beautiful about their race. How does the world make them feel about their race. How does how the world make you feel about your race, make you feel? These words inside these conversations in a safe environment where everyone is on a quest to understand, can change the current political climate of hate, reduction of rights for minorities, and the open season on people of color.
In short, being an ally means listening, and supporting- using your words to encourage and support the community you are trying to embrace. It is important to be mindful to support the narrative, but not to appropriate or take over the narrative.
Give the community the lectern to speak from. Don’t speak at the lectern for the community. Give them the microphone, and stand behind them in support. Let them lead the way.
This is the best writing I have ever seen on being an ally.
Written by Dr. Frances E. Kendall. I am sharing this because this perfectly lays out how to be an Ally. I hope Dr. Kendall doesn’t mind.
How to Be an Ally if You Are a Person with Privilege
Have these words come out of your mouth often. It might be scary, but I have learned if something scares you, that means you need to take notice and ask why.
Words change the world.
Words change everything.
Words change us