We have witnessed the murder footage of George Floyd at the hands of the Minneapolis Police Department, most of us feel devastated from watching such an inhumane act. As a country, we are all trying to figure out where to go from here. Before we come to terms with understanding as a whole where to move from here, many of us as Americans have to sit with who we are as an individual. Many of us have to check our heart condition. Some of us suffer from a heart disease that has nothing to do with how our blood flows. Our heart disease has to do with the buried ideologies that have been with us all of our lives.
We see big corporations invest funds into diversity and inclusion. They are setting aside funds to invest in community programming. We are hearing more and more about “defunding the police,” which is a slogan that began by the Black Lives Matter movement. The idea of “defunding the police” strives to move funds from specific police programs and invest those funds into underserved communities. All of this is a good start, but a year, five years, even ten years from now and beyond, how do we assure that our children and their children will not be faced with these issues again.
I wrote in my memoir that chronicles my journey of doing self-work to become a better person for my children, family, and community that I was just shaped by so many experiences and most of those experiences came from making moves with bad information, so I had to dig deep to find out what I learned wrong to remove it, what I learned properly to enhance it, and what I did not learn at all, and learn it.
I want corporations and the private sector to know that in your hiring of diversity and inclusion, people who are typically people of color, it is not their job to teach white people how to be a better human being. It is not their job to educate you on the History of the African American experience in this country, because that too is American History. Black people cannot change the hearts of humans, that is self-work. Dr. Toni Morrison, author, and Nobel Laureate, spoke on racism with Charlie Rose on PBS in 1993 and said, “If you can only be tall because someone else is on their knees, then you have a serious problem. And my feeling is white people have a very, very serious problem and they need to start thinking about what they can do about it.”
We cannot fix the heart of a human being, but we can fix the soul of humanity if we do our self-work individually. What does it mean to do yourself-work? It involves evaluating those implicit biases that we hear all over the media airwaves. Our knee jerk reaction is to respond, usually, to ease the emotion that is present at the time. So we see a lot of, we hear you, we stand with you and even #BlackLivesMatter. That is appreciated!
But have you self-evaluated? We know that the mass majority of white people are against what we all witnessed on the camera footage of the murder of George Floyd. But, are you against holding the black woman who sits in the cubicle much more qualified than you while you sit in an office doing much of nothing while she’s working hard daily just for her work to get noticed? Are you against unbalanced and unequal education within the public school systems? Are you against families living minutes away from you going without a meal? Are against every face on the executive board being white, while all the people in the non-exempt hourly positions are people of color? We can go on and on, but no change will stick if white people’s hearts continue to be addicted to their racism and privilege.