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"You Can't Shake Hands With A Clenched Fist"

Perhaps I've chosen one of the most challenging aspects or “arms” of the social justice movement: Racial Justice. Actually, it chose me. And it's not really an “aspect or arm” of the embodied social justice movement. It's the foundation of injustice in the country I was born in (and where I continue to make my home).

The founding tenets of this country are steeped, full throttle, in race-ism. In other words, the entire way in which the United States has edged its way to world domination is predicated on race and race relations.
I will do my best to explain a deeply complicated issue in the next three hundred and ninety-one words.
I live in Seattle, WA, located in the Northwest region of the United States. I was born here and raised in Hawai'i, an incredibly ethnically diverse region of the world.

In Seattle, the racial tension here is thick and racist practices are often covert, disguised in liberal white middle-class nicety-speak. In other words, there is strong and pervasive 'colorblindness' that replaces overt and bigoted racism that one might find in the southern United States. Very challenging in that, acts of racism become difficult to “prove” - requisite to [maintaining] white privilege. After all, if one can't prove it, how can it possibly be true? On a daily basis, it's exhausting; If one is trying to move up the career ladder and support a family, it can be - and has been - devastating.

My family is no exception. We have our share of racists experiences. My father was shot through the back as he walked out of a bank after the guard told him they “...didn't want 's in here.” The guard reports his gun “slipped” from his holster and he got off on justifiable homicide.

No one wants to talk about it, even those who live with it every day. I witness countless instances of racial discrimination, white privilege, white supremacy, male patriarchal cultural dominance, to name a few paradigms. What makes it challenging is that the same people exhibiting all of the above are - mostly - kind, friendly, and often helpful people. The requirement for a conversation that preserves a relationship of integrity is paramount to effectively dismantling the paradigms discussed above. These conversations aren't easy. And they don't happen instantly.

The good news is the Global Race Conversation is on the table! Our work is not in vain! At the radio station & Community College I engaged in Courageous Conversations and co-facilitated student and faculty/staff workshops on how to engage in rich meaningful dialogue about race.

Our solutions are real. We can and do engage in dialog here. In essence, communicating and sharing our personal stories of our racial experiences is one pathway to healing. This is why World Pulse & Pulsewire are vital tools for dismantling racism and advocating racial justice. I think it's time to take it a step further and start a Racial Justice Healing place on World Pulse! (How's that for activated passion!?)

Comments

MudiwaM's picture

Engaging meaningfully

In these kinds of situations it is very easy to slip into reverse racism, which can be devastating, so I think it's wonderful that you can use this and your Community College radio station as a space to open clear dialogue.

I wish you the best in getting people to open up about their feelings and opinions.

bd's picture

Mobile Dialog

Hi MudiwaM!

Thank you for connecting!

Yes, it's easy (though just as painfully, really) to fall into a place of accusation and blame. I'm finding that a direct heart connection is key for me to stay centered and focused and to take things less personally. When I come from the heart place, it's easier to ask questions and learn about others. :)

Blessings,
bd

Never doubt in the dark what you saw in the light.

Iffat Gill's picture

speechless

I read about your father and how bravely you are targeting the root causes of the issue that lead to this ugly event. I admire you for your courage and for the positive change you are trying to make in your community.

Best,
Rose.

Iffat Gill

bd's picture

The root

Thank you, Rose, for your kind words! Root causes is exactly what I'm working to uncover and transform!

Blessings,
bd

Never doubt in the dark what you saw in the light.

bd's picture

Bravery is Savory - Ending Racism Now!

I've been inspired to do this for awhile now. I didn't expect it would be here on World Pulse/Pulsewire, yet here it is, a new group, inspired by the VOF Week 3 assignment!

Join the new group! Let your voice be heard! Pose elucidating questions, and transformative solutions to racial issues, discussing race, approaching racial situations:

Bravery is Savory - Ending Racism Now!
http://www.worldpulse.com/pulsewire/groups/28996

I've posted a Racial Justice Primer of resources for entry into critical conversations about race. Great tools to inspire and transform!

Thank you for reading!
bd

Never doubt in the dark what you saw in the light.

nkinyanjui's picture

bd, thanks for sharing this

bd, thanks for sharing this amazing post. I never much thought about racism but its mostly until you have to face it personally or you know of someone who has been affected personally that your awareness awakens from within. The conversations which you engage in definitely require boldness, courageousness and passion, just as in the words you have written these are similar words to describe your works for your community. Keep the word alive

Love this post dear, we are all legal being created by God, no color, no tribe, no race, no creed.
Thank God we are living up to that on Worldpulse. The more we grow the more we learn, that is women on worldpulse. I pray we will see the changes in our various countries soon.

Olutosin Oladosu Adebowale
Founder/Project Coordinator
Star of Hope Transformation Centre
512 Road
F Close
Festac Town
Lagos-Nigeria

https:

bd's picture

Thank you, for your post,

Thank you, for your post, Olutosin!

I agree with the 'no race' part, though I do have a color (that can't be denied), and I hail from a few tribes, too.

Differences are undeniable. That we should not be judged by them is unquestionable and the crux of "racial" and ethnic justice. And yes, we are all Human in the eyes of the Great Mystery.

In Beauty,
bd

Never doubt in the dark what you saw in the light.

Myrthe's picture

Bd, you have such a clear,

Bd, you have such a clear, strong and passionate voice.

I love how you created a group here at PulseWire as a result of this assignment! That's a great way to get started using PulseWire working towards change.

viochan's picture

Use the fire!

There is a passion that comes through in your writing that is POWERFUL! Starting a dialogue - as you well said - around issues of race and racial justice is absolutely necessary, especially in times like this when as a country we are so polarized between the US and the OTHERS. I commend you for the work you do.

Violeta

bd's picture

Thank you!

For your fuel, Violeta! Come join in the dialog!
bd

Never doubt in the dark what you saw in the light.

Carri Pence's picture

To take an experience that is

To take an experience that is so emotionally and mentally difficult to comprehend and except, through that of what happened to your dad, and place it in a positive light is amazing. Your strength and wisdom are not only encouraging but inspirational as well. Racism now is greatly ignored, though so many people I know are openly racist. It is amazing how many people here in Portland look down at the blacks and Hispanics, questioning their motive for everything. I feel that since we are silence about racism it is so so so much harder to deal with. No one owns up to having racist feelings even though they blindly and actively discriminate and judge. Thanks so much for bringing light and open race as a discussion that we greatly need to talk about! Your entry reminds me of a quote by Martin Luther King, ". Like a boil that can never be cured so long as it is covered up but must be opened with all its ugliness to the natural medicines of air and light, injustice must be exposed, with all the tension its exposure creates, to the light of human conscience and the air of national opinion before it can be cured."

Much love and support,
Carri Pence

Carri Pence's picture

Oh and pulsewire hint. When

Oh and pulsewire hint. When replying to a post or comment press the reply button on the bottom. This way they get a message that you replied back through their email.

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