Affected, infected, or “effected”…by racism
Racism is such a potent poison and it brings instant death to the hearts and souls of both the infected and those affected by it.
It appears racism is not much better today than it was thirty years ago – socially speaking that is. People are just as distant and divided as they have ever been.
I’m not sure what the answer is to this problem, but I want to be part of the solution somehow.
I want to cause a ripple effect of tolerance in my personal sphere of influence. Don’t you?
I don’t really know what all that means just yet, but something positive must come from all this division, lest a root of bitterness takes hold and I become infected by it all.
Nah, I do not need to explain to you how wrong racial bias is. You know it is terrible and ungodly, Right?
Still, as wrong as it is, it’s everywhere: in our churches, lurking in our neighborhoods, hiding in community centers, and prevalent in workplaces. Unless you’re a tin man without a heart, you’re affected by it when you hear about it on the news or read about it in the newspaper.
Racism at my job
Something is going on in the office where I work. I suspect it has been for years.
I’m not sure what to call it, but, people sort of segregate themselves by race. Do they do that at your job?
It seems to happen every time we have large-scale events or meetings.
The work environment is not really a racially-toxic one, still, there is definitely “something” going on between the people of color and the people of no color (so to speak).
Sure, everyone is cordial with one another. They are somewhat supportive and willing to help one another when needed.
But, the racial delineation is clear and obvious. What do you make of it?
Can a group of people really and truly be a team if they don’t like (or value) one another for racial reasons?
Want to know the saddest part? Many of us perpetuate the separation culture by not reaching out or trying to fix it.
I’m sort of embarrassed to say I am also guilty of doing absolutely nothing to resolve it either.
Why can’t I be the first one to say “hi, let’s do lunch?”
I do know for certain I want to be part of the solution.
Passive no more.
From now on, I am determined to reach out a bit further to bring some change.
We need it. The world needs it.
Only the simple-minded and blind would say differently.
The Workplace Utopia
I know what it can be like to work in a socially “accepting” and tolerant place. I did before!
At my previous job, things were so different.
That beautifully diverse team found a way to relate to one another, and eventually, care for one another very deeply despite our differences.
Working with those folks completely changed my personal worldview.
Let me tell you: being around people completely different from you is challenging, at times, but is such an eye-opener. Doing “life” with people so different from me supplied rich insights into other ways of thinking and seeing the world. It made me better.
To this very day, I am stumped by that team. I can’t figure out exactly what the “secret sauce” was.
We had a great leader, was it her?
I do believe everything rises and falls on leadership. She had to be an integral part of that accepting culture. Again, I dunno.
Additionally, each person was so open and caring.
Maybe that was the reason for the cohesive team. Was it as simple that – as each person being a terrific person, so together we made an amazing team?
The world may never know. I do know that racial prejudice is wrong.
Blacks don’t trust Whites and Whites don’t trust Blacks.
Many Black and White Americans have such a deep-rooted disdain, mistrust, and disapproval of one another, and that breeds tension.
They try to hide it behind smiles and professional decorum, but it’s still there. Because it’s there, team dynamic- no, world dynamics are affected negatively.
I’m going to do a quick “run down” of what I think are major contributing factors to intolerance. I’d love your thoughts!
1. Media doesn’t help at all. It makes stereotyping a group of people easier and poisons the minds of millions against that group.
When we watch tv or hear the news, we have to remember that “some” does not constitute all.
Some Black people may behave that way – not all.
Some Hispanics respond that way – not all. Similarly, some White people may feel that way, but not all.2. Ignorance. Some folks just don’t understand the way some Blacks behave, speak, or even wear their hair. Just the other day a coworker (with whom I’ve built a friendship) asked to touch my curly hair. I wasn’t the least bit offended because I knew her. We have a relationship. Her touching my hair makes her a little less ignorant about one Black woman’s gorgeous hair.
The relationship is the key to understanding.
No, my hair didn’t bring world peace or anything, just a bit of understanding to one person. People often hate or dislike when they don’t understand.
3. People confuse political correctness and tolerance. A tolerant person says, “ok, you are different than me and I accept you as just different, not wrong or bad.”
Political correctness has become mislabeled.
Political correctness means being empathetic, polite, and kind. That’s it.
It doesn’t mean you can’t have your opinions, it just means if your opinion hurts others, maybe you don’t need to share it out of consideration of another human being’s feelings.
Say for instance, I don’t like your red suit, why do I need to tell you I don’t like it? What does it benefit? Only a cold-hearted, mean person would want to hurt others.
Recap: media, ignorance, meanness, and rudeness are huge factors in racism.
Many Blacks are just as culpable in regard to racist attitudes. We see some White people and pre-judge them faster than a speeding bullet. I’ve done it myself.
As though they possess a superpower, some people of color assume what white people are thinking about them even before they get to know them.
It’s called a “chip on the shoulder” syndrome. I made that up, but it should be a syndrome for real because a lot of folks have it.
I’ve heard so many people say things like “oh, she thinks she’s better than me because she’s white” before even having the first interaction.
The reality is that person may not be thinking of you at all, but the assumption that she is creates a barrier to interaction– often BEFORE the first meeting.
How crazy is that?
Hey, I don’t purport to have all the answers.
However, I do know God doesn’t want us divided.
So we gotta be willing to reach out and build connections. Then, and only then, can we squash assumptions, and ignorance of other cultures and build respectful and kind relationships.
But, that is not all.
Pray Christians. Pray.
In addition to praying, be sure to stand up for what is right whenever you see something wrong.
Challenge yourself to build relationships with people outside your own race too. I’m going to try.
Force yourself to love people you don’t necessarily understand initially.
Teach your children the same equity and love of Christ. I vow to do it too. I promise.