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Juneteeth Brings Reflections on Privilege, Self-Awareness, and Agency

It is #Juneteenth today. On this occasion when we collectively remember the heinousness of slavery in America and continue to work toward understanding the sticky nature of its legacy, I ask this question:

How do we become conscious of beliefs that we often hold unconsciously?

This is at the core of our coming into awareness and ownership of the hidden beliefs that live within us, the effect of which we are unaware but are expressed through our actions and way of being in the world.

In these shadowy places within is where racist biases reside, like a mold that grows best in damp darkness. As we, as a global community, unify around the shared commitment that #blacklivesmatter, each of us has an opportunity--no, an obligation--to do our own work by deepening our awareness of the role we play and the role we WANT to play in making the world a better place for all.

Here is where I am coming from as I walk in growing awareness of the contrasts my biases present.

I am a white woman in America. I am a coach whose life work is to empower others to live their best lives, and those who could use my support the most are not always the ones who are receiving it due to access. My highest commitment is to love, and I am a racist as a beneficiary of this oppressive system. The unquestioning consumption of this privilege is my continued offense. I can look toward the nature of my socialized mind, molded in part by a culture that affords privileges to those who are white, and denied to others based on the color of their skin, to cast blame, but until I own my choices (and unconscious choices) as my own, nothing will change.

It feels so ugly and edgy to claim this truth. My work--our work--begins by seeing the truth--stripping away the structures and beliefs that blind, the same ones that hold us comfy and at a safe distance from truly seeing what is present.

How can we begin to take 100% responsibility for ourselves without looking directly at how our assumptions, beliefs, and self-righteousness are the blindspots that support an oppressive system?

As we deepen our awareness, may we have compassion for what we don't yet understand or do well. As we get clear on what matters most, may we clarify what we hold as core values and have the courage to live by them. As we witness the courage and passion reverberating in the voices of the protestors marching for justice for #GeorgeFloyd and all black lives, may we find and strengthen our own voices to join in resonance with the force of change that will come.

The change you want to see in the world starts with you creating it.

What is your next step?


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