Your View of Others. Is a Reflection of You.
I’m not sure how to even address this. But, to my Black friends I am so deeply sorry I have let you down. And, to my White friends if you see any of this in you… I hope you take a deep internal dive.
This past year I dated a Black man (okay, technically bi-racial but I saw black). And I’m intentional with the word man because I know a lot of 35 year old boys. There is a difference.
This message is a reality check to myself and to other white people.
My intention is for us to acknowledge and understand the deep rooted racial tendencies that are inside of many of us…. whether they are intentional or not they are there and they have an impact on peoples lives. While we all may be on different part in our journey I am speaking from my experience and inner dialouge.
In this post I could call a lot of US out right now. But I think what is more productive is to focus on MY words and subconscious thoughts. I believe that heart work is hard work and we can only do that within ourselves. In this post, I am asking you if you see yourself in me? If you do there is a problem. I encourage you to acknowledge and address the problem.
And again, to my black friends reading this. I am sorry. I am committed to doing better.
Let me start with the night I met him (the man I dated this past year). I went to a mutual friend’s birthday party. It was one of those parties where you only know the birthday girl and you have to put your adult pants on and talk to new people.
I saw him. I thought to myself … he looks approachable.. I remember thinking …he is black so I’m not worried about impressing him he is not likely my next suitor. I also remember thinking… he is black at a birthday party full of white people… he is probably looking for someone to talk to, too.
In my subconscious it has shown 1. I have built a wall around the idea of dating a black man. 2. I assume black people feel left out when accompanied by all white people… 3. I found a way to use that to my advantage.
If that’s not embarrassing enough…. I need to remind you….
This is a 30 second thought process. 30 seconds…
I tell you this not to shame myself but to provide an illustration. The illustration is of deep rooted, subconscious racism. If you question if that still exists, I ask you to ask yourself again. This time– ask honestly.
Here are a couple of other things I said in our relationship.
And let me remind you this is someone I care deeply about…. Someone I “respect”
- I felt the need when describing him to all my white friends, in a whisper-like tone, “he’s black” like I am prepping them for some sort of dirty secret.
- In discussions of race I told him he was jaded towards whites. I encouraged him to not play the victim. Look for the positives!
- Before he was my black boyfriend he was my black friend. Nope, I did not just describe him as my friend or boyfriend. He was my black friend, my black boyfriend.
- When describing him he was the “whitest” black guy I knew. I said this because he was educated. He had a great job. A good apartment. A cute dog. He spoke fluidly and thought deeply. — it’s sad that these resonate with “white” and not black in my mind.
- I felt nervous to tell other men my age he was black because I was scared they would no longer be attracted to me. And….in case you’re wondering…. If this is a deal breaker for you. YOU are a deal breaker for me.
And the sad thing is…. I could keep going. But I think you get the picture.
Now let this sink in…. that was ME. And I am
In the minority of White people who date outside our race. My mind is considered to be open. And that my friends is a sad and scary thought.
BUT this story is not all sad. It’s really happy too.
I got to experience something meaningful, beautiful, intelligent and extremely rewarding. I got to experience him. I got to know myself better. That’s the beauty of breaking down walls, growing, and allowing your heart and mind to open.
I met someone who interpreted paintings and songs with me. Looked at the stars with me. We made up stories about lives in far off places. Someone who showed me the moon. Someone who would listen and understand my metaphors of life. I met someone who challenged me to grow. Challenged me to get to know my authentic self. To listen to me.
The day I met him I met one of my greatest teachers. He led me by example in light and in love. I hope I can take his example and teach you. Teach you to break down walls, to acknowledge hard truths that live inside of us and encourage you to address them.
I don’t say any of this because I’ve felt shamed into admitting my flaws, I don’t say it to get a gold star and rid myself of guilt. I share this because this is my experience and it is the only one I can in full transparency speak to. I want to admit and address the prejudices inside of myself and collectively encourage us to re-think the way we look, talk to and think about People of Color. Because sadly those thoughts I mentioned above are just that, they are prejudice. I want to work on them and the first step to addressing it, is to admit to and learn from it.
If you take nothing else away,
I hope you remember that next time you are inclined to stereotype, that your view of others is a reflection of you.
How do you really view yourself?
My simple list of resources:
Read: White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo (If it’s sold out, listen on audible)
Listen: Seeing White – Podcast on Radio
Watch: 13TH on Netflix
Understand: Systemic Racism Explained
ASK: My email is [email protected] if you want to have an open and judgement free conversation.