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Navigating the racial unrest

I want to take a moment to comment on the racial unrest happening in our country. As I’ve talked to individuals about what’s happening, I find many are really uncertain about what to do or what to think. My intent with this post is not to tell you what to do or what to think. I want to share my perspective, but also provide resources for reading if you want to be well-informed on the topic. If you’d like to do more reading, here is some material I came across from a local group in my West Chester area.

And now I want to give you my perspective on the matter. Below are some of my closest and dearest friends. They are doctors, ministers, professors, moms, healers. AND they are black. If I do not acknowledge their skin color, I am missing a very big part of their experience in the world. It’s an experience that is so different from my own. It is through close relationships with these women that I can gain a glimpse into the life of living in our world being a person of color.

If you know me, you know where I stand. Black lives matter. I understand from reading on facebook that many people say, “all lives matter.” Of course they do. But if you are holding to that position, you are really missing the point. If you wonder why black people are angry, then again, I think you are missing some information. If you want black people to “stop complaining,” I urge you to look into why you are trying to silence them. Anger shows something needs to change. Anger is a normal human emotion. That’s one of my biggest lessons that comes up in my work as a therapist. Yes, change needs to happen.

Why do I hold this position? A big reason has to do with my systemic training in my education. Another is my aim to live a life that sees all people. Here’s where I’m coming from. In my training as a family therapist, I see all different types of family and see things passed on from one generation to the next. I always need to talk about addictions, past hurts, divorces with the individuals I work with…because I know things that happen even generations ago impact the client I am working with. What does this mean in terms of race? It means if we see our country as a big family, there is a huge generational wound that is passed down from the time of slavery that has never been healed. Part of the reason it hasn’t been healed is because it has not been acknowledged. In families, especially those with all adults, the HEALTHIEST families are those who have individuals with all voices heard, equity of power, and an ability to respect differences. There is always a pull to return to the status quo, even if the status quo in a family is not close to ideal.

In this discussion, I’ve also heard people compare black lives to others who have entered the “white country.” They have compared them, saying that others have been more peaceful and assimilated much better. Again, I need to return to the conversation of the generational wound. It’s easier to assimilate when you have not been enslaved. Within my work with families, the times that change is easiest is when all individuals come to the table and see their part in the problem. When this doesn’t happen, more havoc comes. If a family member says, “I don’t like how this is going for our family. Things don’t seem right to me,” is responded with “I prefer if you stop talking about it, things are working for me” I often see much more unhappiness and a lack of peace. If the family can take a position of, “Tell me more about your experience. I want to be a happy family. I’m here to change things for the better, even if that means as an individual I have to change” I have seen much better things happen.

I know this post will not sit well with others. I am more than happy to discuss the matter with anyone, because I think for change to happen more constructive conversations need to take place. So please, drop me an email! I believe in our Christian walk we are to be agents of healing and change, taking a look into our own lives and allowing God to do work on our hearts. Happy rooting, everyone!

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