“In a racist society it is not enough to be non-racist, we must be Anti-Racist.” – Angela Davis
I’ve been struggling this past week along with all of you. At times, I’ve been overwhelmed by emotions. Other times, just horrified, in shock. This past week has woken us up to many realities: the reality of racism, the reality of white privilege, and the reality of what it means to live as a black person in a white world.
As a white woman who is the Founder of a global community, The Forever Fierce Revolution, I’m just beginning to understand “white privilege” and its relationship to the systemic racism in our society.
The horrific murder and insane brutality of George Floyd by a white police officer has ripped the blinders off of white Americans. We can no longer look away. We can no longer take our white privilege for granted. We must understand why we have it in the first place. White privilege is the inherent advantages possessed by a white person on the basis of their race in a society characterized by racial inequality and injustice. It was born out of racist beliefs, slavery, colonialism, and seeing the black community as “less than” in so many ways. The ultimate truth is racism cannot exist without the white collective continuing to play a dark role in perpetuating it. The other truth is racism cannot be extinguished without the white race using all its power to confront and combat it.
The Forever Fierce Revolution Community was launched to shine a light on Ageism and to offer a positive alternative – Age Positivity. It was created from seeing an injustice, Ageism, and taking action to confront and combat it. It is The Tribe With the Kind Vibe – not simply words but active intention. It is a community that is open to all humans with the only membership qualification being that of a kind heart. The community exists to help women at Midlife & Beyond learn to be the best humans we can be. Part of being the best human is examining our hearts and our beliefs.
This past week has left our community, our country and our world in a collective mourning – grieving the loss of the life of George Floyd, a father, a son, a brother – a man who didn’t deserve to die because of the color of his skin. His gift of life was cut painfully short due to the racist society we live in today. The grief is about so much more than the horrific death of George Floyd. It is a collective of grief and sorrow for all of the injustices and oppression born out of racism that the black community has had to endure for centuries. Many of us have been left questioning ourselves, searching for answers, and desperately trying to understand racism and the role we have played.
Racism exists because society at large continues to view white as more and black as less. We must reject that belief. We must reject racism.
That was easy. Racism is rejected.
Except it’s not that easy. Here’s the hard part. Here is where real change begins.
Racism cannot be denied. It must not be denied! There’s no pretending. It can’t simply be legislated away with society made whole again. Racism has to be dealt with in our hearts because that’s where it truly resides. Let’s be real. Racism is hatred, hatred that exists within us. Each of us has to look at ourselves and decide how we will respond, how we will change, and if we will help and become part of the solution.
If each of us looks inside and makes a small change, the ripple effect and the impact on society is enormous.
I have spent a lot of time over the past week searching my soul. I’ve been asking myself, what can I do? How can I change things? As a white woman, am I even qualified to speak? Should I just shut up and listen? How can I possibly understand the depth of the pain of the black community and my black sisters? The truth is I can’t. We can’t. But what we can do is do better. We can listen and learn. We can do so much more than be passive anti-racists. We must be ACTIVE ANTI-RACISTS while also being PRO-BLACK. We must dig into the depth of our heart and soul and examine our own beliefs. We must stand up and use our voices to be absolutely intolerant of racism of any kind.
The second part of our mission is to shift the perception of our black sisters, the entire black community, to one that is absolutely beautiful. We must celebrate our black community by shining a positive light on our black sisters. We can support their businesses, their voices, and their humanity. We can educate ourselves and raise our awareness of what it means to be a woman with white privilege. We can use our white privilege for good – to elevate and lift the black community and all minority races, alongside us.
Because that’s when white privilege disappears: when we all view each other and treat each other as equals. Will that ever happen? I don’t know but I know it is possible. I know that a world without racism is possible. I also know that’s the world I will be working to create.
There are no words powerful enough to express the depth of my sorrow, the depth of my shame, and the collective white shame that has continued to oppress our black sisters and the entire black community.
I see you. We see you. I am sorry. We are sorry. I am ready to do better, to be better. We are ready to do this together. Part of this will be in changing our being. Part will be in the doing, in Active Anti-Racism and the creation of an ongoing movement within our Forever Fierce Revolution Movement to celebrate and honor our black sisters. We look to you to lead us, to guide us through your wisdom and life experience to show us the way.
We are awake. We are never going back to sleep. We stand with you. Black is Beautiful and you are beautiful to me, to us.
Be on the lookout for an upcoming permanent space on the website to celebrate you – one created with a whole lotta love and powerful intention behind it.
Here are some clickable resources to take action beginning with Tamara Batsell’s excellent live address to our group:
“This is our time to show who we are. Be willing to be uncomfortable and call out racist behavior when you see it. Acknowledge the gifts of your birth and use that for good.” – Tamara Batsell, TBStyleworks
Forever Fierce Revolution has 6,597 members. Welcome to the Forever Fierce Community! We are delighted you have decided to join a collective of women…
This is beautifully written, Catherine & very similar to the sentiments I expressed in my last post. There is so much I didn’t know before, about the world & about myself. Now that my eyes are open there’s no going back… xo
Catherine Grace O'Connell
It’s such a shame that it often takes another tragedy, George Floyd being a horrific tipping point, one caught on video where we know many have come before that were hushed up and never addressed in any way. My heart breaks. I have always been actively involved in supporting the marginalized including our beautiful black sisters. My intention is to take that to another level, slow and steady wins the race. Thank you for your beautiful voice.
Wonderful words Catherine. I stand with you and all our black sisters and brothers. It is time to stand up for justice & equality. We must do better and educate ourselves. I just started reading “Me and White Supremacy” and will read “White Privilege” next. Thank you for standing up for all people of color. We really must never go back to sleep.
Catherine Grace O'Connell
I know you do. I just downloaded White Fragility and I can’t wait to read. Now you take care of you!
Absolutely well said Catherine! We love our sister! We need to appreciate the beauty of our black sisters and let them k ow we love them. As you said we all have to look at what we bring to the table and stand up for what is right.
Catherine Grace O'Connell
Thank you sister!