Ignorance is such sweet bliss.
I know because earlier this week, when I was more ignorant than I am now, I was more blissful. I was attending my salsa classes (my most recent and life-changing, having-the-time-of-my life daily habit), teaching yoga and busy creating.
I’ve been feeling the happiest I have ever felt these days. I was just doing my thing.
That was, until I got home on a high on Monday evening after salsa and started to look at my Facebook feed. There, I discovered the news about what had happened in Charlottesville over the weekend.
I watched the documentary on “Race and Terror“, that literally showed what it was like on the ground in Charlottesville. It was deeply disturbing. If you haven’t seen it, please watch it.
And yet, unlike last year, when race was emerging hot and strong in the news and disturbing events leading up to the American election…something new was happening.
This time, there were new articles that I was reading. Articles about white supremacy that were trageting white women spiritual leaders, coaches and transformational leaders.
These writers were/are standing up and calling out Leaders, like myself, who are white and who have created their own platform of mostly white followers.
These writers began to expose me…and all of the subtle ways that I, Karen McMullen, uphold white supremacy in my own business and through my influence.
And they highlighted how the success of white leaders cannot be divided or understood apart from the context within which it is happening: a paradigm of systemic inequality.
Since then, I have been completely and utterly consumed in consuming information about race, white fragility, white supremacy in brand and what I can do as a leader to dismantle this in my own work…and to be an example of that for others.
There is so much to learn and integrate.
Here are a few things I want to say about this for all my transformational leader (coaches, workshop leaders, conscious business owners) colleagues to consider about your own brand and your own brand of leadership right now, during these exact moments.
1) To remain ignorant on the topic of the subtle perpetuation of white supremacy within our very own businesses and brands is to be complicit.
We can’t afford to be ignorant. We have to step up. It’s time to educate ourselves.
If you haven’t actively researched this topic and educated yourself about it in the past year, then this is your time to do so.
It is certain, in any case, that ignorance, allied with power, is the most ferocious enemy justice can have. -James A. Baldwin
Here are links to the best articles and resources for Transformational Leaders to get up to speed on White Supremacy, Racism and what to do about it in your own life/business that I have found so far:
Welcome to the Anti-Racism Movement, Here’s What you Missed, by ljeoma Olua
“Coaching as Activism” – Andrea Renae offers a very reasonably-priced program for Coaches who want to bring their commitment to healing, justice and liberation (for all ) into their work and life.
2) We can do better. And because we can, we ought to.
We can use our skills, our intelligence, our creativity, our genius, to create a new reality of inclusivity. I know so many people who devote hours and hours of energy into creating the beautiful reality of their current business and life.
Can’t we devote even a small portion of our energy, tools and influence into creating a new possiblity with regards to inclusivity?
We have the power to do so. We have the tools to do so. We have the platforms to do so. We have the followings of, in many cases mostly white followers, over whom we hold influence.
We are perfectly poised to make a difference. And because we can, we ought to.
3) We should be fragile. We should break.
To see what is happening is to understand it. To understand it, is to be broken by it. Chances are, what you see will break your heart. It will make you feel so fragile, so delicate.
And that is as it should be. It needs to become personal. We need to become more fragile,
Life needs us to cast off the hardened shell of ignorance and bliss that has allowed us to continue with business as usual. Instead, Life needs us to allow its realities to get under our skin, to permeate our beings and to change us forever.
That is why they are staring us in the face. That is why they are shouting at us through current events. That is why they are saturating our newsfeeds.
This is our moment. This is our wake-up call. The alarm-clock has been going off, and it’s time to open our eyes.
Some realities need to be dismantled. And sometimes the only way to do that is to smash them…to shatter. I think this is one of those times.
in quiet, I asked…
In quiet, I asked my inner wisdom, “Why do I feel so fragile?”
“Because you are breaking, my dear, you are breaking.
Let me break you open. Right down the centre. Don’t try to keep it together or to be together. Be completely receptive and become non-existent. You do not need to be guarded or boundaried. That is not your way.”
This is my wish, for you, and for me right now, dear Leader. That we break open. That we dissolve all that separates us from others, so much so, that we can no longer behave in a way that perpetuates the separation.
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