Reading Time: 7 minutes Hello and thanks for reading this. I am interjecting myself into your life right now because many women like your co-worker that you asked to lead the focus group, diversity initiative, or any such thing, have reached out to me. You may not realize it.
Reading Time: 6 minutes Stop that individualized bullshit of “not me.” Do not step away from your collective. You are at the center of all of this. You as an individual and you as a collective. Do not exempt yourself from the hard feelings because you cannot imagine your knee in that man’s neck.
Reading Time: 4 minutes We all must work hard to name what it is we need – stress release and solidarity – and find ways that are beautiful and express at our core who we really are. We do not get to do cheap imitations and steal sacredness that belongs to another.
Reading Time: 3 minutes Don’t just talk to your kids about the killing of a 24-year-old innocent Black man in Brunswick County, Georgia. Talk to them about what white supremacist culture is and how you have inherited it and you probably all have some blindspots to it. Talk about how it shows up in your home and how you are now, as a family, committed to eradicating it because it only produces victims. You are a victim of it because it limits you to being a violent, oppressive, entitled conspirator to the system.
Reading Time: 2 minutes Women can be sexist towards women and communicate in their values that they think a woman’s body is most valuable as property, as an incubator for babies. Black people/POCs can suffer from internalized racism and work against their own best interests.
Reading Time: 3 minutes I can think of black women leaders who have told me that they cannot afford to be vulnerable at work because they would lose their jobs. When a black woman feels anger and expresses it at work, she is labeled an angry black woman. When a white woman does the same thing, it is called righteous indignation and the white makes support her.
At the end of the day, what my beloved Brene Brown is saying ( I am absolutely certain that it is unconscious on her part) is that we should liberate our vulnerabilities in a culturally white way to create deeper connections in a way that is appropriate is culturally white settings.
Reading Time: 8 minutes Veterans of racial justice work have discovered that tokenism is often coupled with assimilation. When a person gets chosen to “break the glass ceiling,” implicit in that selection is the message that “We invited you into our exclusive group. You represent (x) (x=marginalized group). You must act like us, speak like us, behave like us and be loyal to us, what we stand for, our values, our ways, and our foundations.”
This action of tokenism is done as “the method of limited access that gives false hope to those left behind and blames them for ‘not making it.’ Tokenism is a form of co-optation. It takes the brightest and best of the most assimilated, reward them with position and money (though rarely genuine leadership and power) and then uses them as a model of what is necessary to succeed, even though there are often no more openings for others who may follow the model.”
Reading Time: 10 minutes We heal this collective trauma by confronting it, understanding it, releasing the pain of it, and transcending it, as a group. And not just a group of women, but as a society. The first step is to confront it.
Like Salman Rushdie, the Islamic writer observed after the fatwa was issued against him, “Those who do not have power over the story that dominates their lives, power to retell it, rethink it, deconstruct it, joke about it, and change it as times change, truly are powerless, because they cannot think new thoughts.”
Regardless of the gender you inhabit, the times we live in demands that you confront your story about “women,” our bodies, our identities, our sexuality, our value, our stereotyping and our debasement. We do this by taking power over the story. Examine it. Interrogate it. Name it. As a leader, you have an obligation to make sure that you explore your story around women.
Reading Time: 7 minutes Pay attention and listen. Evaluate your relationship. I am trying to help you out.
You know how there is nothing you can do to make her happy? Sex is not fun anymore? She recoils at your touch sometimes? Maybe she is never physically satisfied with sex? Maybe she has packed on more weight than looks attractive to you? Yeah, all of that. Have you ever considered that maybe she herself was a victim of rape or sexual assault? Yup. Maybe.
So what now, right?
Back up and listen closely. Time for you to learn, brother!