First off, thank you for your support!
It’s such an honour that want to share my work with the world. I really appreciate your courage in naming your desire to have safer space held, for you and other white people, to work through your personal and cultural traumas.
I created this little guide to help you navigate some of the questions and comments you might receive when sharing my work.
If a POC asks about my work, please listen
I do this work because I want to nurture the ability of white people to be present for the emotions of POCs.
Truly listening understanding the feelings of othes, including POCs, doesn’t mean you have to stop exercising discernment. I 100% believe you have the right to access self-care and safer space.
But please keep in mind, that this project is an ongoing experiment and the feedback of fellow POCs are important to me. I also would never want my work to be a reason for white people to stop listening to POCs.
Here are some thoughts and tips to help you navigate questions and comments from POCs that don’t feel right about my work:
- Remember that this can be the perfect time to hone your ability to listen to POCs first, without making what they are saying about you.
- Remember that I don’t understand my work as the only approach. It isn’t dogma. I don’t at all expect other POCs to do the work that I do. I simply see this as my part, given my unique skill set and life experiences that no doubt come from a place of privilege.
- Remember that my project is an ongoing experiment. It has continually shifted with feedback, especially from other POCs.
- Remember that no POC can represent all POC voices. Many POCs are behind my work, even if they have helpful criticisms from time to time. Others feel (understandably and validly) troubled by it. I am not going to tell you that the experience of one side is more valid than the other – that is simply not the truth. I believe that it is important for you as a white person is to listen to the diversity of our voices and not silence one for another.
- Remember you have the right to exercise self-care. Here is an article that can help you with creating ‘friendly boundaries’ that are potentially nourishing to both you and the person you are interacting with.
If a white person is upset about my work, you can do a lot of things but I recommend starting with self-care
Interestingly, some of the people who have been most vehemently opposed to my work are white. This might become extremely frustrating for you to interact with. So off the bat, I recommend self-care as a default response.
If you feel the person is able to listen to you and maybe they just misinterpreted my work, I think it is a great idea to offer your experience and understanding of my work.
On the other hand, if you feel like the person has no such capacity, I suggest taking space and bringing attention to why you feel compelled to interact with this person. Are there other stories from earlier in your life that are playing out?
When you are better able to detach your emotional projections from the present, you will be able to navigate conversations with other white people more effectively. This will also help you in talking to other white people about racism in general.
Hope this helps! I welcome feedback 🙂