Chapter 41 of Waking Up White: and finding myself in the story of RACE by Debbie Irving
What might prevent you from stepping out of the bystander role and into the ally role? Make a list of your reasons. What do you notice as you look at this list? What might you do to overcome the obstacles you’ve listed?
- I’ve been raised to “be nice”. – Assertiveness without aggressiveness is a very fine line, and I’m so afraid of offending people that I often am a “bystander”. I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about how to counteract this tendency in myself, and I’m trying to think through some potential situations and how I should/will respond. I also could use a lot more role-playing to practice this.
- I’m afraid of practicing micro-aggressions, even when I have the best of intentions. – One of the best ways around this is to develop personal relationships with folks of a different color/faith/gender/etc. I need to seek out people who are different from me, just because I want to be around them. I also need to listen to them when they tell me I’ve stepped over the line and into that space.
- My “ear” is often not attuned to unacceptable behavior, and I miss what’s going on. – If I’ve missed the sub-text in a situation, I need to not be afraid to circle back and confront it once I DO “get it.” Again, having a personal relationship with the “others” will help me understand and hear the undertones and undercurrents around me.
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.