Taking a Stand

As a principle, I like to keep my personal life separate from my business and movement practice, but this is different. The issue of both overt and subtle racism and other forms of inequality and injustice that have been sewn into the fabric of our society is something that right now needs to be addressed in every aspect of life. People are waking up and demanding that we stand together for the greater good.

This isn't new, but it's reaching critical mass, which means so many people are demanding a change that it's unignorable. Right now is the time to be a part of that voice. You need to demand the change too, *especially* if the issue doesn't impact you directly. People who need help are asking for your support, and if your response is anything but to lend your strength, then you are on the side of letting things stay the same.

The system that we need to change poisons our perception until we are desensitized to what should be so obviously unacceptable. We are blinded by a corruption that is hidden in plain sight, not to mention our own confirmation bias trying to justify our choices to keep us feeling good about ourselves. The reality is that no matter how socially conscious, and totally untainted by subtle racism you think you are, we all have to let go of some of our beliefs in order to see the truth.

Ask yourself honestly if you're making excuses for yourself; are you trying to find proof that racism in society isn't that bad? Do you think that making racist or misogynistic jokes isn't a racist or misogynistic act? Do you think that white privilege is a myth, or that it doesn't apply to you? Do you think it's best for you to just quietly observe and "stay out of it"? Then you are supporting the injustices that are part of our society's very construct. You likely don't realize it, and you don't see yourself as racist, or a recipient of white privilege, but accepting that the influence of systemic racism has touched you and making the effort to change is the choice that determines what kind of person you are.

Here is a good zen story about how you can never learn anything (or see the truth) without letting go of what you think you know:

There is an avid disciple of the arts who is on a pilgrimage to visit the great masters of the time. The disciple sits down with this one master for tea. The master pours a cup for his guest and the young disciple starts talking about his journey and all that he has learned from all the masters he has met along the way. He talks so much that he barely touches his tea.

Finally he begins asking the master some questions only to interrupt with a story about how he learned that lesson from another master, excited to describe what he already knows. This goes on for a while until during one of the disciples interruptions, the master takes the kettle and pours more tea into the disciples untouched cup and it spills all over the table. The disciple jumps back shocked.

"Why would I try to pour tea into your full cup?" The disciple asked, puzzled.

"Good question." Replied the master. "How can you expect to learn anything from me, when you already think you know everything?"

Now is the time to empty your cup.

I think the biggest hurdle for many white people is thinking they already know everything they need to know.

I think that especially as white people, when approaching issues of racial injustice, we need to forget what we "know" and really not talk but truly listen with an open heart and mind to the actual people who are experiencing these injustices.

Now is not the time to stand aside and criticize the brave individuals fighting for change. If you're anything like me you have been waiting decades for this many people to make such a powerful stand.

Taking a stand might mean protesting and supporting petitions. It might mean making conscious efforts to change the status quo in your industry or work environment. It might mean challenging peoples' unconsciously racist ideals, and calling people out when you witness racism on any level.

I am not someone who will stay quiet. I will stand in support of the Black community (and First Nations community struggling against the RCMP here in Canada) in their pursuit of justice and the dismantling of a corrupt system built for the kind of oppression that is hard to see and easy to sweep under the rug. I invite you to join.

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