The truth hurts and frees you.
When did you first know you were Black? What was it like to go to a predominantly White school? Did your Dad and I make a mistake sending you there? How’d we do with teaching you to be proud and informed about our history? All questions I had never asked before.
Hearing the answers even as the conversation flowed, was not as easy as it may have looked. The conversation was taking place in front of an audience of my On The Matter of Race Family (an all-White group), which added to the evening’s dynamic. Both he and I were aware what was taking place was a one-of-a-kind event and it definitely upped the stakes.
This is a conversation that I value, knowing what my son thinks about being a young Black male in an African American family in the United States. There I was listening deeply, particularly when he shared his response to our choice for his education. It was hurtful to hear that I had repeated the very mistake my parents made that altered the course of my life as a Black girl/teen/woman. It did the same for him and though he has dealt with it, he was surprised by that revelation too.
The choice around education while important to every cultural group, too often leaves parents of color with choosing between nourishing and protecting our children’s cultural being and sending our children to the best school or certainly one that gives them a fighting chance. This decision is discussed, sometimes agonized over and filled with repercussions along with the benefits. It’s a very common choice still.
As awesome as the conversation was, the most satisfying moments came from the audience who had never heard an African American mom and son talk like this about our hopes, fears, mistakes, joys and sorrows. This night was real and raw. It was filled with White people who started the On the Matter of Race journey feeling like they did not have a lot to learn or had a lot to learn about racism and it would be covered completely in the 6-month journey. They all quickly found out how very little they knew.
My On The Matter of Race journey has stimulated many deep and sometimes anguishing conversations about racism. The opportunity for White people to talk about racism, with other White people facilitated by me has proven to be an important and game-changing journey for all of us.
We are opening up our waitlist for the next group of White people who are ready to do the work of learning, self-examination, having the difficult conversation and taking action.
I am committed to bringing in so many more White people for these groups. This is the work. We are doing it and if you think that being nice and speaking up when you witness overtly racist acts is being anti-racist, then please join our next journey here and find out why you are wrong.
If you are from a community of color and would appreciate it if the people that you love and interact with who are White, would do the work so that your conversations with them are less frustrating, and painful, then tell them about this.
The most beautiful moment in that conversation with my son was when he shared, “I have to admit, I did not think that White people really wanted to dig deep in this way and learn about racism. This makes me hopeful even though I know I still have to live the way I live as a young Black man in America. ”
I’m all for hard work and hope!
Join us! Get on the waitlist now here. We open it up for interviews in 1 week. The next 6-month journey starts on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day, January 17, 2022.