I wish I could be articulate and composed enough to put into words what I feel and think towards the state of the world. But let's be honest I'm neither of those things. Nevertheless, I believe that it's up to all of us to use our platforms and to speak up regardless of our correctness and our ability to be proper. This is not a time for excuses, it's a time for action.
I won't claim I know anything about racism or about the pain, fear, and agony that comes from being judged by the color of your skin. By any means, I can begin to understand what that feels like or what that entails. That said, I firmly believe in doing my part however small it may be. As Elie Weisel stated:
"Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented. Sometimes we must interfere. When human lives are endangered, when human dignity is in jeopardy, national borders and sensitivities become irrelevant."
I am white, privileged, and openly anti-racist. I can only talk about what I know and what I experience so this is intended for fellow white people; in aims that we'll start a conversation to better address this issue that we are all responsible for.
I'm an entrepreneur and as many of you reading this we often claim how we are "self-made". We take pride in saying that we have climbed our way to the top and that we have got there all by ourselves. We position ourselves as strong and courageous for having chosen an offbeat path. We pat ourselves on the back for taking steps towards our financial freedom and our independence. We congratulate ourselves on our will and on creating and our destiny, of course, we do, why in the world shouldn't we?
We congratulate ourselves on our will and on creating and our destiny, of course, we do, why in the world shouldn't we?
I am not here to tell you shouldn't, you should! Being an entrepreneur isn't easy but we make the gross mistake of believing that we've made it alone and on pure will. We walk around unaware that the opportunities we have are vastly different from the ones other people have. We don't all start our journey in the same place, therefore we haven't got to where we are entirely by ourselves, we have had a head start, and a big one at that.
White privilege is real and we'd be fools to dismiss it. The fact that we are privileged doesn't mean that we don't work hard or that we have our success handed at us. It simply means we have more help, opportunities, and possibilities than we realize. Here are some things that most likely have helped you along on your journey that you may be unaware of:
A loving family
Access to private education
Not having to help your parents to pay bills
Having someone that cheers you on your journey
Having a community you can rely on
Access to the internet
Books and mentors
A healthy lifestyle
People you can look up to
Opportunities to be who you want to become
The chance to fail and try again
The color of your skin
Running water and power
Access to technology
We all have different stories and different backgrounds but overall white people have it easier than black people and other minorities do. We don't need to prove our worthiness because we are white, they do. We have created a space where we take refuge in our privilege and we fight for it with racism. I'm in disbelief of how we ever got to a point where one human has to prove to another that they are in fact human.
The beauty of being human is that we are different and the same all at once. We are culturally and ethnically diverse and that allows for inspiration, art, and creativity. But what moves us forward as a civilization and as a species is the fact that in our core we are all the same. We all want love, freedom, shelter, friends, health, and fulfillment. So how can we put each other down and mistreat each other by something as ridiculous as skin color? Could you imagine a world where we'd hate green-eyed people and kill them because of that? It sounds as absurd as what has been happening for ages now with racism.
It has got to stop. We are all responsible to do our part and be factors of change. From where I stand one of the best places to start is by checking on with yourself. If we all acknowledge our privilege and we call out situations and people that are wronging others we'll be on our way to creating an empathic and compassionate world.
There are thousands of resources out there so here I'll simply share a few things you can do to be a better human being that apply to everything in life:
Listen, listen, listen
Learn from those that are suffering every day
Amplify their message
Don't hate on those that think differently from you, hate takes us nowhere
Call out situations that you believe are wrong with compassion
Check-in with yourself over and over again
Don't respond to hate with more hate
Be open about where you stand, silence helps the oppressor
Prioritize what's right over your own comfort
Hold space for those who need it
Share your privilege with those that could benefit from it
Be good and kind, it's free
Being human means being part of something bigger than our individuality. But to create better relationships with others we must start with ourselves. I'm taking a stand and although I feel these words are meaningless in the scheme of things, I am trying to be better each day; and if we all do that, half of the battle will be won. However small, something is always better than nothing. Play your part. I'll play mine.
Lots of love and light,
PS: yesterday I dreamed I had superpowers and that I could fly and somehow it seemed more believable than watching the news. What a crazy world we live in...