Thursday, April 7, 2016

Internalized Racial Oppression vs. Authenticity

I also learned about this at the Undoing Racism workshop I mentioned on the previous 2 posts.

Internalized Racial Oppression is the toxic impact of living in a racialized society.

The first part of this, Inferiority, was led by a black man and a Latina. They allowed only the People of Color to respond; the white people could listen and learn, but not talk. This was very informative for me to hear. I took notes and wrote below in the voice of the leaders.

The second part of this, Superiority, was led by two white women. They allowed only the white people to respond; the People of Color could listen and learn, but not talk.

(Commit to being authentic instead of participating in below.)
Denial - brain buying time to deal
Distancing - brain trying to solve a problem that isn't a color; pulling self away from those like you to be accepted; not speaking the language of parents, etc.
Mimicking - imitating white people (talking, straightening hair...)
Colorism - lighter skin POC get white benefits while darker skin less benefits/worse health, family distancing, socialized to disrespect
Protectionism - trained to protect white people so closer can get to benefits, protects status as token
Exaggerated Visibility - talking loudly, low pants, "see me, if like it or not!", F you
Ethnocentrism - only one POC to represent in a business
Anger - due to being inauthentic, to lie is not natural

Stop struggling with selves to gain acceptance.
Be yourself. Be authentic.
Stop trying to make white people comfortable.

(How we as white people absorb and perpetuate racism.)
Individualism - we don't remember how we benefited, we say: "we can do it, why can't POC?"
Competition - who is going to be best (even this: the best anti-racist!), it separates us, it traps us in our minds, we need to do internal work
Perfectionism - we think we have to be to compete, works against who we are as people, it is a crock, poisons education system, compliance and rule following, a culture of politeness
Meritocracy - we think we get our advancements from merit...not aware of what really got us where we are now, or who we "stepped on" (genocide, enslavement) to get where we are
Entitlement - we think we deserve it
Normalizing - pushing the white way of doing things, "white is right"
Defensiveness - I didn't mean that!
Written Word ...valued over people's experiences
Paternalism - male hierarchy

These are systemic and we continue them...STOP!!!
Pay attention.
Think: where we learned them and how do we perpetuate them?
They are unconscious within us.

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The Definition of Racism and Race

At the Undoing Racism workshop that I mentioned on this post: Contract for Building Power and Relationships, I got a clear, modern definition of RACISM.
Here it is:



ISMs are a belief system, an idiology, systemic
Prejudice is pre judge(ment)
All people have racial prejudice.

Only while people have power (that is, we have institutions and systems backing us).
So all white people can be, and are racist.
At different doesn't mean we are all "bad", or "evil"; we have more power due to the systems and institutions set up in favor of white people.
Yes, this might be painful to see, or admit. We were reminded at the workshop to get our feelings out of it. Learn from this so we use our power to make changes to the current, white-favoring, institutions and systems.

 An empowered community holds institutions accountable.

A specious (false) classification of human beings created by Europeans (people who became "white")...that assigns human worth and social status using "white" as a model of humanity and the height of human achievement for the purpose of establishing privilege and power.

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Contract for Building Power and Relationships

I went to an Undoing Racism workshop in Amherst, MA last weekend. It as tough work and I learned a lot. I will share some of that on this blog. It was led by Annie and Mahdi from Peoples Institute of Survival and Beyond, a New Orleans-based Civil Rights group.

They started by telling us about the Contract, a tool for building relationships and power. Here it is with some notes:

1. Meaning does not translate
-don't assume what you think words mean, is what another person thinks they mean
-don't presume that your way of thinking is the only/right way

2. Respect
-for example, ask "what would you like" instead of giving everyone the same thing

3. Listen
-the biggest potential muscle of communication
-the most important thing for a voice, is to be heard
-a vibration comes with listening, folks feel it when you are/aren't
-it takes it does to be human =not racist
-nothing will cause you to miss out more in your life than to not listen
-when you find your mind wandering, recast your "line" and "reel it in"
-listen especially to your own inner voice

4. Honesty
-telling the truth about yourself (you can't tell anybody else's truth)
-you can feel vulnerable
-only when we are honest do we give folks a chance to really be with us
-the universe takes all we communicate as literal no matter when and who we say it to (and even if we don't say it out loud)

5. Growing Edge (realms)
-stretching beyond your edge of knowing
a. know you know
b. know you don't know
c. things we think we know but are wrong
-trying to be something for other people...the ego panics when we get to this 3rd realm
-learn to be uncomfortable but safe
d. what you don't know you don't know
e. something you know intuitively that you don't know (aka enlightenment)
-only can get this from yourself...when you get a sense of your power

6. Participation

7. Racism
-our power conversation
-an imbalance of power, not prejudice

8. Safety vs. Comfort

9. No Quick Fix

10. Struggle together

11. Confidentiality

12. Non-hierarchy process

13. Compassion

14. Impact

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