“I didn’t do enough. I should have done more. Tried harder. Listened better.”
When we feel those feelings – we don’t console ourselves with platitudes. Understand that we are exactly right. We did not know enough. Do enough. Stand enough. March enough. Vote enough. Listen enough. Fight enough.
We may have missed the last hundred (thousand) opportunities. But whatever we did or didn’t do doesn’t have to be prediction.
We are the species capable of declaring new intention and acting upon it. Choice.
We first set aside our own pain. Yes. Do it. If you are reading this you are quite possibly a human being lottery winner. You’ve had a measure of safety, security and predictability. So please get over your self serving anguish. Don’t dwell on how bad you feel about it because that just keeps the focus on you. Just set it aside.
Take a really honest inventory of your gifts and strengths and assets and ask yourself “Within my circle of power and influence have I created a welcoming place of fairness and justice? One where everyone has an opportunity to grow and contribute? Have I welcomed and embraced or just accommodated and tolerated? Have I stepped up and stood up and spoken out visibly in full view of those who will attack me for it? Or have I safely whispered reassurances afterwards? Out of view of the haters? Have I made a robust, exhaustive examination of the all the polices and procedures and practices under my command – insuring that they are fair, accessible, welcoming, safe, supportive and celebratory for everyone – yes – but especially for people of color?
They will tell you. They’ve probably been telling you. Did you listen or dismiss? Or dilute to public relations problem? Did you relegate Black Lives Matter to your social media message – but not in your boardroom or Human Resources or the rank and file? Or investment group? Or tenured protected faculty? Or your loan portfolio? Or your HOA?(god forbid) or your church and book club and CrossFit gym and your orchestra and dance company and team and law firm and biking club…..If you can get from home to work to worship to fun, week after week after week without ever having a meaningful interaction with a black person – you – you are the problem. If you’re still telling yourself we invited them but they didn’t want to come. And we just can’t find any qualified ones. And police are really trying. And “they” have their own issues, problems, clubs, bars places. And we tried but it just didn’t work out. And we just don’t get the applicants.
And of course BlackLivesMatter but our donors won’t like us if we say it —— then you, you’re the problem. It’s you. You’re living in an artificially white world where you’re comfortable and someone else is paying the price for it.