Suppose there is a clean line: before May 25, 2020, when George Floyd was murdered, and after. Let that be the day it all changed, the day we ripped off the masks, stopped pretending, and started to build a new, antiracist society.
I will continue to organize my thinking using the kind promises, but each month I will include one blog post that looks at the promise through the lens of creating an anti-racist world.
The kind promise I am considering this month is “I will share strengths compassionately.”
Creating a new society takes several varieties of strength. Below each is a journaling prompt to help you explore and cultivate that strength.
Imagination: we need to be able to conceive of a world in which we drop prejudice and the tendency to jump to conclusions in favor of one in which we are open hearted, choosing curiosity over fear. We can ask each other: who are you? How do you see the world? What’s your vision of this new world? What gifts do you bring to this moment?
- Describe an anti-racist world. How is it different? What supports it?
Courage: we are moving into new territory. We don’t know how to do this (or what “this” is). We’ll need to resist the urge to run back to safety. Instead, we will have to brave the unknown.
- What do you usually do when you are uncertain? How can you increase your tolerance for unpredictability?
Vulnerability: we are going to make mistakes. That’s the best way to learn, but it is uncomfortable. We will need to be generous with each other, make amends, practice forgiveness, and try again. We also need to admit our ignorance. We can’t know what life is like for someone else. We will have to ask and believe each other’s answers.
- List 10 mistakes you are willing to make when you speak with someone of a different race. What mistakes do you want to avoid? What strategies will you use?
Humility: we won’t do things correctly the first time. We won’t have the right answers. Other people will do it better and we’ll need the grace to let go, step aside, and let a different voice speak.
- Describe a time you were corrected. What happened next?
Persistence: it won’t be easy and it won’t be quick. As people keep saying lately, “it’s a marathon, not a sprint.”. That requires that we move step-by-step for a long time. We’ll need to take turns carrying the load.
- Write yourself a letter encouraging persistence.
Wisdom: when our energy flags, we’ll need to figure out how to recharge or what we are missing and do things differently. It’s an experiment process and we need to have patience in the journey.
- How do you recharge? How can you help others to recharge?
These six strengths are just some of what we’ll need to transform our world. Join me in their cultivation.
Here are three sites I’ve visited this week to help me understand where we’ve been and how we can begin to move toward transformation: