Chapter 32 of Waking Up White: and finding myself in the story of RACE by Debbie Irving
How do you want people to see you? List five adjectives you’d hope people would use. What behaviors do you employ to convey this image? How would admitting ignorance or wrongdoing, no matter how unintentional, challenge your desired image?
- Competent – Because I’m terrified of being seen as wrong, I often feign an “I can do this” attitude, even when I don’t have a clue about what I’m doing.
- Knowledgeable – I often know more facts than other people (it’s no credit to me, I have a fly paper brain), and I don’t hesitate to tell other people what I think they need to hear.
- Kind – I try to remember to think of other people’s problems, even when mine are weighing on me. Consequently, I rarely give other people the opportunity to help me.
- Truthful – I have a difficulty admitting I don’t know, but I fake it, and often I just don’t engage. Remember “if you can’t say something nice, don’t say nothing at all.” So, fearing hurting someone else’s feelings, I just don’t connect.
- Empathetic – See all of the above. I try to “fake” empathy, even when I’m secretly thinking, “what and a$$hole.” It embarrasses me to say that.
If you would like to join me as I blog about my experiences with race, please read the book. It was life changing for me.