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Googling My Whiteness

It’s been a long time since I’ve had this much work to do. I’ve been busy before, sure, following tasks on countless To Do lists. I’ve had timelines and deadlines, goals and outcomes to strive toward. Projects to finish, disciplines to practice, boxes to check.

This work is different.

This is me unpacking my white privilege, for the very first time.

It’s been heart-wrenching, humiliating and illuminating all at once, as I Google names of the black men and women who have been harassed and killed in our country for decades. I am freaking Googling them! Why? Because I didn’t take the time to learn their stories the first time around. Instead, I followed the toxic breadcrumbs of the media who shined a brief spotlight on the lives of Oscar Grant, Emmett Till, Trayvon Martin -- and countless others -- until more comfortable news popped up and I turned the other direction. Away from those black lives, in lieu of the false belief that everything is okay; that once those stories weren’t discussed in the news and among my white community, they weren’t a problem anymore.

That is not okay. It never has been okay.

It’s not okay that I’m in the tragic depths of black history in America for the first time. Noticing and following leaders in the Black Lives Matter movement for the first time, Reading books I’d never heard about, using a lexicon I’d chosen not to hear, studying social concepts and statistics I’ve ignored.

The death of George Floyd made me realize how tired I am of my own ignorance. And so, it stops now.

I’ve talked about my Aliveness Scaffolding before, but here they are anyway as a reminder. Bear with me. This is relevant.

Awareness

Listening

Interdependence

Vulnerability

Engagement

Non-Judgment

Embrace Change

Start Anywhere OR Stay Curious

Say Yes

I created this Scaffolding, originally, as a framework for my teachings in business and community; a set of guidelines for bringing our whole selves to life, personal growth and business.

And now...to activism.

Let this message be the first of a new series, where I’ll speak to each of the above principles as they relate to our collective action toward social justice and change -- starting with Awareness and Listening later this week.

In the meantime, let’s stay awake and viciously curious about our role in this generations-old systemic sickness of inequality and unconscious bias. Even if it starts with a Google search.

 

©2017 BY SHANNON HUGHES, ENLIVENED STUDIOS