My Reflections as a Person of Color
I’ve gone through many emotions as a part of the IPOC (Indigenous and People of Color) community in the past few days. I’m tired. I’m heartbroken. But I am not without faith that we will find our way through this together.
Love and forward-thinking are my focus. I see people waking up to the root cause of unrest in this country, and that gives me hope that we can come together and create a solution. The purpose of this post is to share my thoughts and ideas about how we can approach that solution. While no one person has the answers, moving forward begins with sharing what’s on our minds. This is what’s been on mine.
Deconstructing the Problem
To solve the problem in this country, we must first deconstruct it. We must reverse engineer the social constructs that have caused division, pain, and suffering and transform them into a way of being that promotes justice, equality, and freedom for ALL.
How? By replacing the status-quo with new social constructs that make it difficult for racism to thrive.
Bottom To Top
Our current laws aren’t enough and will never be enough. They are based on a top-down approach to change, and as we’ve seen time and time again, this approach doesn’t work. Social change needs to come from the bottom up.
Social change begins with the people who currently have the advantage in our society — White people. It begins in your homes with what’s in your hearts and the ideals you pass on to your children. Social change begins with how you interact with your friends and relatives — having those difficult conversations, educating one another on privilege, and shedding light on racism where there was previously darkness. Social change begins when you as individuals police yourselves to ensure that you remain anti-racist in your thoughts and actions.
The top-down approach we have currently only addresses behavior, leaving the mindset that fuels racism unchanged. People who have a racist mindset follow non-discrimination policies at work, but cultivate racist attitudes in their children at home. Appearing anti-racist and being anti-racist are different at their core. Racism is more than a behavior issue, it’s a mindset issue, a conditioning issue, and a heart issue.
The bottom-to-top approach is about changing your mindset and conditioning on an individual level. You must be willing to genuinely open your heart and mind to IPOC. Now, I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t know what getting every White Person on board with this looks like, but I do know is that it’s necessary.
The bottom-to-top approach is more than a distorted recounting of our country’s history in schools, observing Black History Month, and believing that race is no longer a factor. It is about making our country a truly neutral and peaceful place instead of a hostile environment where IPOC struggle to survive, let alone thrive. Unfiltered education about our history, as well as emotional support and behavioral resources, are necessary instruments of change.
The bottom to top approach is about healing hearts on both sides. We must find a way for White People to heal generational guilt, cognitive dissonance, and the resulting dissociation from the destructive actions of their ancestors. We must also find a way to heal the generational wounds, pain, fear, anger that IPOC experience as a result of being oppressed in this country since its inception.
Creating change from bottom to top means taking the initiative. Waiting for laws and government leaders to tell you how to be anti-racist is not the solution. The solution lies in doing the difficult inner work to change your conditioning and policing yourselves to uphold anti-racist ideals. From an anti-racist majority comes anti-racist voting and the establishment anti-racist government.
The Act of Anti-Racism
Being anti-racist is more than just a box you check, but it’s taking daily action. Being anti-racist is actively educating yourselves in order to understand and check your privilege. It’s calling out the racists in your life instead of pacifying them with silence. Being anti-racist is using your money and influence to build up IPOC instead of tearing them down or turning a blind eye to injustices. These are just a few things, but there are many other resources that go into more detail about doing your part to change the system.
White People, it’s time to act. Please don’t allow the cries of IPOC to fade into embers until the next flareup. Social change in this country cannot happen without you. Are you in?