Mitigating the Effects of Racism

My mother taught me from a very early age that the most difficult part of solving a problem was discovering and telling truth about a problem. That sounded easy, at first. Then she instructed me to explore how I participated in keeping the problem active. And finally, she suggested I ask myself, “what did it mean for me to take 100% responsibility for what I was experiencing?” Then decide what constructive actions I could take to begin resolution.

The first question reversed the direction of resolution by exploring how I reacted to MY problem: with outrage, anger, and frustration. Then I realized these feelings were all occurring in My body, of which I had 100% responsibility and if owned, correspondingly 100% control. The obvious conclusion was that the feelings I experienced were sourced from something programmed inside me! The actions or reactions were behaviors consistent with outrage, anger, and frustration, which kept the conflict going, with no resolution in sight. That was how I contributed to keeping the conflict active!

The second question employed the MOST DIFFICULT concept we face in being human; taking responsibility, with no excuses. In my case, taking 100% responsibility for being the source of my outrage, anger, and frustration. Now, I am at the point of telling the truth about the discovered source. Some of us find it impossible to get past this one.

The third question she posed to me: “What constructive actions can you begin to take for personal resolution?” After resolution, you will have a number of realizations. The most important one is that your equality, as a person, comes from within you and no one outside of you has the power or responsibility to grant you equality! They may grant you access, opportunity, and greater participation, but they cannot grant us the equality of personhood.

Remember Martin Luther King’s quote: “A man can’t ride your back unless it is bent.” Which means the “Superior/Inferior” dyad requires both participants to prevail.

Once that realization sets in, we are now ready to move mountains! (But that’s another Blog)

William A Guillory, Ph.D.
Co – Executive Director
The Way of the Heart