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Following Up From Blackout Tuesday

If you’re already someone who follows along on my social media, you know that I participated in Blackout Tuesday earlier this week.  Blackout Tuesday being a day of solidarity and silence to help amplify Black voices in the continuing racial inequality, and most recently, the death of George Floyd. 

During this day I took time to learn, unlearn, and reflect.  One day certainly is not enough to solve the world’s problems, but it is a start in the right direction.  Below is a little bit about the resources I reviewed.  

What I Listened To:

Unlocking Us With Brene Brown (Podcast)
Harriet Lerner and Brene – I’m Sorry: How to Apologize & Why It Matters, Part I (May 6):

Brene Brown is one of my favorite social researchers.  Her research generally centers around topics of vulnerability and shame.  Tuesday I started my day listening to two episodes.  While the two episodes that I listened to didn’t specifically relate to racism, I’m including the one because it feels like there are interpersonal lessons that would be relevant to the topic and everyday life.

This episode focuses on apologies – what makes up a good one and how to avoid a bad one.  There’s points where I was fully in agreements, other times that I had some doubts, and other times that I was feeling a little resistant because it felt like the points hit a little too close to home.  It’s a fun episode in that you can tell that Brene is also struggling with some of the points being made.  

Looking back at the episode the particular part that sticks out is how adding a “but” to the end of your apology can take away from its value (“I’m sorry, but…”; pay special attention to the suggestions Brene offers to fill in the blank).  This is difficult to think about, because as the one apologizing, you like to think that giving a legitimate reason why it happened would make someone feel better about it.  That’s not always the case.  Take a listen to the episode and I’d be curious to know your thoughts on it! 

What I Watched:

Becoming (Netflix): This documentary shares the life of former First Lady Michelle Obama as she tours after the release of her autobiography.  It gives a look at her life at the White House, growing up, meeting Barack, and some of her challenges and successes along the way.  I’m looking forward to putting her book on my reading list to learn more.

How We Can Make Racism a Solvable Problem – and How to Improve Policing (link here):  In this TedTalk, Dr. Philip Atiba Goff shares his work at the Center for Policing Equity.  He speaks on a data-driven approach that focuses on addressing the behaviors of racism versus racist feelings.  The one thing that feels especially heart-breaking is the example he gives is Minnesota, that interventions were already in place and while improving, it wasn’t at a rate fast enough to prevent the George Floyd incident.  Overall it was an interesting talk.

13th (Netflix):  This documentary is about the criminalization of African Americans and U.S. prison systems.  The title – 13th – references the 13th Amendment of the Constitution that abolished slavery.  It’s very thought-provoking and leaves a lot of other pieces of history to research further.  One thing I found particularly interesting was seeing the different presidents speak on the topics of criminality and drugs throughout the decades.  This is one that I feel I will have to watch again with less distractions to be able to digest better. 

Hello, Privilege.  It’s Me Chelsea (Netflix):  Out of all the videos I watched, I felt the most surprised by this one.  I was not expecting much from the title and description, but I would actually suggest this as a starting point if you’re just broaching the topics of racial inequality and privilege.  The documentary presents the topic of White Privilege through a series of interviews with several people of differing viewpoints.  This one felt unique in a way, as it presents the information but doesn’t necessarily demand that you pick a “side”.

Some New People & Organizations I Started Following:

@blackartistspace – visual art by Black artists
@supportblackart – visual art by Black artists
@aclu_nationwide – a nonprofit, nonpartisan, legal and advocacy
@prestonsmiles – international speaker, author, personal freedom coach
@rachel.cargle – writer, teaching, storytelling, critical discourse
@brionajenkins – Black queer woman, podcast host, co-director of NLC Austin
@iamtabithabrown – Actress, vegan foodie
@artbywak – fine artist Kevin Williams
@blackgirlswhopaint – features visual arts from Black female artists
@requel_willis – editor of @outmagazine, national organizer of @translawcenter
@taranajaneen – Founder of the Me Too movement (check out her on Brene Brown’s podcast)
@naacp – grassroots civil rights organization
@privtoprog – from privilege to progress, IG for the #ShowUp Movement
@jadepearl_ – makes art and empowers others
#sayhername
#artists4justice

I hope this list has been helpful if you’re looking for resources to learn more.  I’d be interested in your thoughts and discussion.  I’m learning that difficult conversations and listening are increasingly important right now, even if it is uncomfortable and we don’t always agree on all the points.  

Is there something you’ve come across that’s not on this list that you’d recommend?  Please let me know!

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