As I completely broke down in tears recording this video, I contemplated re-recording it to avoid being seen vulnerable. Then I quickly changed my mind and decided to use this recording anyways because the topic I am addressing is putting us all in a vulnerable state. It is a delicate and uncomfortable subject and we need to be okay being uncomfortable if we want things to change. You can watch the video or read the transcript below.
This week, I would like to address the white privilege. I'm addressing everybody that does not face the social injustices that, we have been very well made aware, are still very much present in our society.
I have done a live video earlier this week with Rose Adams. I really recommend that you watch it. It is posted down below in the body of the blog this week. Rose Adams is an incredible woman. She says: "I am a proud black woman" and she gives us five concrete tips that we can do today, right now, to alleviate racism in our society. So I really recommend you go watch it.
What I want to address right now is the fact that we have privileges. Because of the pigment of my skin, I will never be able to understand the depth of the problem. I will never be able to feel the resentment, the hurt, the anger that everything they are going through may cause. All week, I have been making a point of rising the subject, especially after my interview with Rose, where she mentions to speak up. So, in all the platforms that I'm involved in all my different circles, my different bubbles, I'm making a point to speak up, to talk about this delicate and uncomfortable subject and to see if there are maybe some unconscious biases that I personally have and acknowledge them.
I have lots of privileges: One: I was born in Canada. We are very lucky here with the way the country is run compared to Haiti for example, where I do some volunteer work. They were born in a different country and they have a very different life.
I am privileged that I have a great relationship with my husband. I'm privileged that I have a job. I actually own my company and I have lots of freedom. I have lots of privileges in my life. I have parents that love me. They're both still alive. Lots of privileges, and yet, the color of my skin is probably the biggest one of all. So, I want to address that. For people to realize how lucky they are, that they never have to work harder just because of the color of their skin.
The other thing I want to talk about is colorblindness. A lot of people say: "Yeah it's not a big deal, you know I don't see color. Everybody is equal. I have friends that have different colors and I don't see that." I believe that it's a problem to think that we are colorblind, that we think that we see everybody equally, because if we don't see their color, we don't see THEM. We don't see who they are. And we don't see the social injustices that they're going through. So we need to start seeing that. We need to start seeing the differences so that we can understand the differences, because if we pretend that we're not seeing it, we're not honest with ourselves. I really recommend that we open our eyes - because my eyes are wide open right now - and we start seeing the differences and we have conversations with our colored friends and ask: "Hey, how are you doing? Talk to me. Let's bring this to light and let's deal with this instead of avoiding the uncomfortable conversation. It's been buried for so long.
As I've been bringing this conversation, a lot of people are saying: "Yeah, but you know, it's not us." The people that can fix this are in corporations. That's where the biggest systemic injustices lie. It is happening in the big corporations, it's corporation’s racism, where advancements and better positions are given to white people, et cetera." Well, if we think that it's only others that needs to fix that, then we have a problem. Again, it is everybody that needs to fix this. It's all of us. It's all small gestures, because guess who works in these corporations? People. Individual single people. And if everybody does their share to open their eyes and acknowledge that there are differences, that's a first step towards something happening.
I do believe that right now is the perfect time for this to come to light because of the pandemic. Everybody has a different mindset right now. We are coming back to what's important to us, to our sources, to spending time at home, to not being out there with our credit cards, buying a whole bunch of things that we don't need. We are going back to spending time with our family and our real values. We are understanding what's really important to us and I believe that if there is a time in history where it's time for this to change it's right now.
I deal with a lot of clients who have went through huge traumas and I can help them. I can help people that went through traumas because the trauma is over. That’s what I do. My clients are successful with the processes that I use at an unconscious level to get rid of these powerful emotions: hurt, anger, fear. Now, the reason why I can help them with the specific processes that I use is because the trauma is over. I can help someone that went through a trauma in the past, because the trauma period is finished. We can identify when was the start, when was the end, and we can deal with the specific period of life where they were abused or treated unfairly, and we can disconnect it from the past, get the learnings and move on. The first problem I have right now is that it's NOT OVER and even though we can deal with past traumas, it keeps happening again and keeps reopening the old scars. I don't know how to help that.
Resentment is a positive emotion along with anger or hurt. They are really powerful emotions and they can help drive someone to take action. They drive us to turn around and create action. So, the second problem I have is when there is no action to be taken. Social injustices have been ruling for so long that they are helpless and they cannot take action. The whole society is keeping them stuck.
As I feel helpless myself, not knowing how to help with what I do for a living, I am turning to you to ask YOU to help me change the society. So that one: this could end and two: there could be action to be taken. I need your help now. We need to stick together and we need to really do something. I want to use this platform and all the platforms that I have to bring this up to light. You all have a circle, you all have a platform, a bubble of people where you interact. Bring this to light in your bubble. Let's work together and let's end this. It's going to take years. It's going to take a long time, but let's do something about this. #silentnomore. Thank you.
Watch Rose and I below as she shares her journey in Canada as a Black Woman and gives us concrete actions we can take today in our everyday life to help alleviate racism here at home. She is giving us the tools so let’s get to work!
On Wednesday I interviewed Rose Adams, Resiliency Expert, Professional Speaker and Business Owner. There was a great turnout for the live stream and hundreds more have viewed and commented. My conversation with Rose was so powerful, I decided to postpone the Newsletter I had originally written for today so that Rose could follow up on the 5 tips she shared on what we can all do to combat racism. Rose’s strategy is called SLASH.
Take the time to watch this powerful video.
At this time in history each one of us, regardless of our race, has the unique opportunity to direct the course of Canada’s future. That’s right, as individuals we have that much power because when individuals change, groups change; when groups change, societies change; when societies change, laws change; and once laws change, Governments / Authorities change. It’s true. WE can be the change. With consistent and strategic action, we could be the catalyst for the eradication of discrimination on the basis of colour. We could be the ones to SLASH Racism.
S.L.A.S.H. - (Speak Up, Learn, Acknowledge, Show Up, Habits)
SPEAK UP - Say something. When you hear anyone make a racist comment, quickly state: “I’m sorry. I don’t feel comfortable with comments about someone else’s race.” You could also add: “even if it’s meant as a joke”. By adding the second part, you take away the person’s ability to excuse their behaviour by responding that they were just “kidding”. Also, if there are other people around, you could to take your comment a step further by stating: “I suspect there are other people here who may feel the same way”. This 3-part statement is a very mild way of calling attention to a racist comment without casting blame because you’ve made your statement about your feelings not about their behaviour. Speaking up is not about shaming or blaming another person; it’s about calling attention to the fact that you will no longer tolerate racism.
LEARN - Become educated about white privilege and about how various forms of racism likely happen in your community, your City, your workplace, and even your own home. Go online. Find out how various things that you may never have even been aware of have their basis in racism. Your awareness makes it easier to effect change. Imagine being empowered to say: “Hey, did you know that that comment / behaviour / rule) originated from ...? By continuing to use it, we are actually promoting racism without even knowing. How about we do ... instead?” With knowledge, you can influence change.
ACKNOWLEDGE - Now this is a hard one. No one wants to think they are racist. This is because we think that word means “hate” or consciously trying to be negative toward someone else. But that’s not what racism really means. Racism also includes the benefits one race enjoys when that benefit is being denied to others because of the colour of their skin. This is called White Privilege. For example: have you ever been asked to leave a store or public place because of the colour of your skin? If you’re white like me your answer is probably NO. In fact, I can’t even imagine it happening to anyone. But guess what? It does happen. Unfortunately, a lot more often than we think. Do what I did, ask your friends whose skin pigment is different than yours or mine if it has happened to them. You will be shocked at their answer. By acknowledging when we receive this type of privilege, we automatically start to notice that it is being denied to others. That awareness is knowledge. Remember, with knowledge, you can influence change.
SHOW UP - Even when it's not convenient. This is where we get to Walk the Talk. When we show up and demonstrate our support we are saying to the world that we will no longer accept the status quo. Showing up could be as simple as going with a colleague when she tells her Supervisor someone just made an inappropriate comment to her in the workplace. By showing up you are making it impossible for the other person so deny their actions. Without proof, things become a “he said/she said” battle and usually nothing happens. Chances are your Supervisor doesn’t want to be the decision maker because they weren’t there. By offering confirmation, you allow the Supervisor enough information to take control and make changes. We are living in a time when people WANT things to change. Often times good people are hesitant to “show up” because they don’t want to get in trouble or cause waves. Unfortunately, that lack of support allows the problem to continue. Show up. You’ll be glad you did.
HABITS - Create a new way of thinking and behaving until it becomes a habit. This is the best and most permanent way to create lasting change. As you know, the work I do with my client’s is about changing the subconscious mind. Once we retrain our mind it becomes easy to do all of the above steps without even having to put out any effort. They just become new positive habits that allow us as individuals to show the world that we are no longer willing to accept racism. Now THAT is change!