Look, we are all working hard to make this world better.
We want to do the right things, while being “good” and “nice.” As we have found our way on the road to understanding systems and inequity, there have been more than a few times that we have had to look at our own reflections. We’ve have had to look at our missteps REALLY CLOSELY, in the minute, and in all their ugliness.
So, from our mistakes to yours.
Here are a few suggestions, so that you might make a few less mistakes than we have:
- Number one, this is not about your experience. Don’t center yourself. Do not center your understanding, whether you’ve been doing this work FOREVER or have only started today, WE ALL HAVE SOMETHING TO LEARN.
- So…admit when you’re wrong, do it often and graciously.
- Intention is meaningful. Impact is more meaningful.
- It’s best to LISTEN-with your head, your heart, and your spirit.
- As often as possible, anticipate unsafe spaces, navigate them beforehand, find a way to remove the burden of explanation from your POC and gender nonconforming friends and colleagues.
- If you find you are uncomfortable, sit with that discomfort- we suggest yoga as a practice tool for this, though running, boxing, and playing video games also work.
- Use google on the regular, it’s like having a library in your house. You can use google to educate yourself and then share that info.
- Because…change begins at home, practice sharing info with your loved ones.
- Then you can spend substantial time investigating your environment, the environment of your child, your parents, your family. Asking, does your community reflect your intentions?
- Which might lead to, embracing spaces that are not white, cis, or male led.
- And, having relationships based on common interests and authentic intimacy, not because you want to check the boxes of “diversity.”
- You will never be perfect AND you can never stop trying to be the best human you can be. Embrace that in all its paradox. So many things can be true at once.
- Identities are constructed. You must engage in a process of unearthing to find even more ways in which patriarchy and white supremacy have been encoded into your way of being.
- Be kind and humble when there are missteps, your’s or anyone else’s, call people in gently and with humility. We all need education and WE ALL MAKE MISTAKES.
- Your brain and intellect isn’t the only thing that makes you an ally, there is no degree or workshop, it’s a constant process, involves showing up, and constantly evolving your spirit.
Co-written with Aimee Reeder, Director of Operations for World Trust Educational Services, Inc.
Aimee is a mom, wife, friend, sister, anti-racism activist, and inclusion crusader. She lives in Oakland, Ca and thinks that animals are people, too.