Good Afternoon/Evening!!! Tuesday Gratitude Practice is here!!! How will you take what you are grateful for through the rest of your day? This isn't just about writing it down and sending it back… put it out there! Let the world feel your appreciation! Let's make a difference.
This only takes a few moments to do but gives to you for much, much longer. So put down whatever you are doing and take a couple of minutes for yourself. Every Tuesday morning I am going to ask you to write down 5 things that you are grateful for and email them to me (keep for yourself as well). What are you feeling gratitude around? Here are mine for this week:
Discussing Racial Tension.
There are no right or wrong answers. It is about what you are grateful for. It is proven that doing this once a week makes you happier, healthier, exercise more and less sensitive to perceived slights. You will sweat the small stuff less and focus on what really matters.
So… what are you waiting for???
Food for thought:
Yesterday was MLK Day and the day after the Seattle Seahawks won the NFC Championship and Richard Sherman's epic interview. If you haven't heard about it or been awake for a couple of days you can just type in Sherman epic interview and a video will pop up no problem. Along with that video you will also see article upon article published yesterday about the interview and the man. This isn't another article about Sherman specifically, just a commentary on why I believe we need more explosive situations that bring up the yuck that we would love to ignore about ourselves and our country. Being a black woman in the Unites States of America is a journey that I continue to appreciate the longer I am on it. Being the daughter of two revolutionaries is also something that I continue to gain deeper and deeper gratitude for. I know a lot of the history of our country, more than most, and am not shocked by the behavior of my fellow Americans. What is troubling to me is how shocked others are that we are who we are. The amount of disbelief that comes when some Americans behave "historically" like many Americans have behaved tells me that we have a lot of waking up to do for real change to happen.
We are a country (like many) that was built on the genocide of one group of people and the enslavement on another. The system of slavery in the United States rivals other atrocities brought against a group of people in length and brutality. The repercussions are still felt, seen and unfolding. There is so much shame, on all sides, that real discussion of our past is often difficult, if discussed at all.
Because of the desire to forget about our history and make excuses for our present conditions we are trained with some of the following being an underlying and unspoken truth:
1) We have been told that what happened doesn't matter.
2) It was so long ago that it doesn't have any effect now.
3) Black People are racist too.
4) Black People aren't as smart, worthy, nice or capable.
5) Black People are lazy and never take responsibility.
6) Black people are criminals and want handouts.
When I say 'we' I mean we. Black folks believe the same shit about themselves that others do. There is so much reinforcement for those aforementioned ideas to be seen as truth that it would take days upon days to spotlight them all. So I will spotlight this. Yesterday a lot of conversations, arguments, tweets, articles and posts were about whether or not the reactions to Richard Sherman's post game interview were racially charged/biased. I will tell you that it is a hard to grow up in this country and not have some racial bias one direction or another. I hope you aren't covering your mouth and shaking your head in denial, but we are living in bubbles if we think that racism is dead. It is like saying crime is dead, or homelessness. We haven't actually spent any time focusing on the root cause of any of this sh*t to announce its death. What we have done it taught people to believe in right and wrong and that has proven to never work on a deep level. It works to cause guilt, stress, depression, denial and shame, lots and lots of shame. And we have all of that plus as our normal in the US.
Instead of just hoping for the end of racism or the death of bigotry we can see where it is hiding, we can give space for those who are angry and confused and hurt and the rest and start figuring out what is missing, what we need in order to actually see the connection that exists between all of us. If we stop denying where we are (on every level) and start being open about what we want, feel and are afraid of we may just make some real progress. When we stop abusing ourselves, our land, our animal brothers and sisters, love reigning supreme will be a no-brainer and an epic interview given by an amazing sports start will be just that, not something to either condemn or condone. We have a lot of feelings that we aren't even clued in to and can never clue in to if we refuse to believe it is possible for us to feel those things. In order to get where we can be we have to really acknowledge where we are starting from. In this moment, in this day, we have to own up to our feelings, beliefs and programming and not judge ourselves. You cannot change what you refuse to look at. You cannot deny that someone who doesn't curse, who boasts about being the best (when he is) and is super excited about his achievements (and super pissed about someone being nasty towards him) getting the amount of backlash that he has gotten hasn't anything to do with the fact that he is a black man talking to/at a white woman. If that idea is offensive to you you have some stuff to deal with. We worry about what the images of Photoshop do to young women and we stop recognizing that we have the same images about race and joy and love and sex shown to us millions of times daily. Being aware will bring change, lasting, amazing and awesome.