Waking up on this Monday, January 18, 2021, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day—the first one since the Pandemic started, since George Floyd was murdered; the one smack in the middle of the month when the Capital was ransacked and racism was on display loudly and proudly; the one literally two days before the inauguration of our first female and African American/ South Asian American Vice President—I felt called to write.
Usually on MLK day, I love sharing a meme on social media with one of his powerful and wise quotes, which to me have always felt spiritual, have always confirmed the work I have done expanding into love and forgiveness into my life. “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only Light can do that.” To me, this has always meant working towards love and forgiveness in my relationships, and still does in many ways.
Little did I know that I had enormous blinders on for the first 39 years of my life, not even seeing the true plight within which MLK was advocating for love. The extremity of the darkness that white supremacy as a structure and white people collectively and individually have placed on BIPOC. How revolutionary it was for a man to tout love and forgiveness within the extreme hate BIPOC have faced and continue to face.
Like so many of my white, spiritual, coach friends, it has taken me until George Floyd was murdered to truly start to wake the f*** up to my enormous blinders. The ones that ignored the white supremacy and racism cooking deep within my cells. The ones that got real fragile anytime anyone brought up the word racism in my presence and caused defensiveness, sobbing, and the fire of a toddler’s temper tantrum to rise up within me. These blinders were my ego, protecting this gaping hole of darkness lurking within me, that all the love and light and forgiveness in the world were not being allowed to touch.
I am so sorry to my beautiful BIPOC friends for all that you’ve gone through and continue to go through, still showing up each day with a smile on your face, still loving me and allowing me to love you when you knew damn well, way before I did, that my blinders were on. Honestly it humbles me to tears to think of the strength of heart necessary to still find love in the midst of so much darkness—even darkness from those that are supposed to be your friends.
What MLK was saying is so brilliant and profound to my white, slightly awoken ears, yet I can’t even fathom to understand the depth of profundity in the midst of what he and all BIPOC humans have had to experience. The societal hate, violence, belittling, collective messaging of “less than,” judgments based on nothing but your skin color, and what might be worst of all the collective white messaging that racism doesn’t exist anymore and you should just suck it up and be fine now. Holy shit. I experienced gaslighting regularly in a past toxic relationship I was in and it almost drove me to madness. I can’t even imagine having an entire race looking at you like it’s all in your head, when the truth is, it’s all in our damn cells and we don’t want to look at it. Yet in my lifetime, in my privileged white bubble, I have definitely held that belief: “why can’t we all just get along and move past this??”
So on this MLK day, I am going to do my best to be Honest. In the midst of so much uncertainty in the world, in our fate, in our politics, in our health. At a time when I don’t know what to believe and who to trust, there is one thing I know for sure: it is time for us white people to finally put a flash light on those icky parts inside of us. To face that even if you're a kind person and don’t intend to be racist, if you grew up in Western society and you are white, you are probably a racist. It has been baked into our cells. Looking at those dark corners of our cells is terrifying and icky and shameful and horrifying. Yet what’s more horrifying is ignoring it and pretending it’s not there, letting it operate and harm others unconsciously and yet still wanting us to all get along.
So even if this crazy world ends tomorrow, I know deep in my soul that looking at and taking responsibility for the white supremacy and patriarchy that has been baked inside of me, will be time well spent. It has to be. It has to be so that I can better understand. It has to be so I can be Authentic when I tout that “Empathy is my Superpower.” On this MLK Day I am going to work to expand my range from “white empathy” to full-range empathy as my damn superpower.
Sending all of you love, encouragement, patience and grace, wherever you currently are on this journey, whether you’re healing and taking responsibility for your own white supremacy or witnessing others in your life finally start to go there.
In Truth and Love,
*Note: For those of you that are white and reading this and don’t know where to start, I HIGHLY recommend a book by Layla Saad called Me and White Supremacy. It takes you through chapter by chapter on topics such as White Fragility, Colorblindness, Tone Policing, White Feminism (damn that one slapped me in the face in the best way!) and so many more. And if you listen on audio book, you get the gift of her soothing British accent (which I now realize after the Tone Policing chapter is probably strategic that so my fragile white ears can actually stay and listen!! ;)).
Next up on the list is the book Caste by Isabel Wilkerson. I have a lot of resistance to opening this book and this tells me how important is it going to be. There’s an entire part of history that I haven’t had to look at in my privileged white bubble. It’s time for me to look. It’s time for me to better understand.
Tina Meyers is a Co-Active Coach, a Certified Career Intuitive Coach, an attorney by training, and a seeker of creativity, courage, bliss, and transformation in her own life and the lives of others.
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