How are you doing? Such a simple question, but one that is essential we ask one another and ask ourselves during this time of cultural trauma we all face on a moment by moment basis.
The effects of racism are a part of our everyday lives, whether that be on the receiving end, being caught in the crosshairs of it, unintentionally overstepping boundaries or an outright malicious act of hate and ignorance.
It took me about a week after the murder of George Floyd to fully process my profound sadness and find the words to express my anger, frustration, and utter overwhelm. When the sadness transmuted to rage, I found my voice.
I care deeply about you and those I am connected to and want to support, inspire, and provide you a platform to share your personal stories. I've shared my views on my social platforms, and I invite you to share in the conversation with me here: https://www.facebook.com/ryane.lecesne/. If you feel inspired to share your story, please leave a comment or send me a direct message or an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. As with all stories shared with me, your story will be honored with confidentiality and love.
Below is a personal truth I shared about one of the many effects white privilege has had on my life and career. I hope my sharing of my truth supports you in your healing from unchecked white privilege traumas, too.
My Personal Truth...
In my rage and my love for my husband, daughter, niece and nephews, entire family, and my black and brown community and allies, I'm letting YOU know – as for me and my house – this white privilege, "I'm sure she didn't mean it 'that' way" shit stops here and now.
First, let me share my family history, then share an example of a lack of awareness of one’s white privilege.
I come from people who grind. My paternal grandparents migrated from the south for a "better" life. My grandfather worked as a Pullman porter and janitor. My granny broke her back as the "help." My father started work when he was 10 to help support his family. He put himself through undergrad and law school, was arrested at a pro-black protest and worked his entire life on behalf of marginalized people.
My maternal grandmother was widowed, left with two girls under 5, and was also the "help." My mother was a single mom at 20 and put herself through undergrad and law school, Clair Huxtabled it, and is a revered community leader.
Why? To do what all parents do, provide a better future for their children. My brother and I never wanted. Great schools. Ballet. Spelman (thank God). I was taught that I am a #specialblackgirl.
About that unchecked white privilege: for too long, I grinded for an organization as the “over-qualified black girl who earned a 1/3 of her value” and made my white female “boss” SHINE. I MADE HER SHINE! NEVER AGAIN!
In 2014, I visited the Museum of Fine Arts Boston and came face to face with this Kara Walker piece; instantly, I was transformed. I saw myself–that little black slave girl dutifully carrying around a white woman's privilege. Three months later, I left my beloved career of ten year to start my business to uplift black and brown women.
About that unchecked white privilege: When I raised the issue of increased pay because, "I want better for my future children," I was met with, "Maybe your children can get a scholarship to a private school."
Were your privileged white children on scholarship? No, but that's your bar for my black child. #NOMorePasses
I've sent this message to the person for whom it was written about. If you're silent, they get a pass! #NOMOREPASSES!
Sending you love during this time of traumatic unrest. You, too, may find a cathartic release in sharing your truth. I'd love to hear from you.