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The best piece of advice you'll read today:

A friend was lamenting on facebook about the pervasive racism in the small town where she's recently moved, and finding herself cringing internally and shutting up instead of speaking out.

Her friend Annie Ory (who I'm compelled to credit for such sage advice) responded:

"Yes, it's hard to, but needed. It helps me to have a plan for what to say that is calm. I practice it, so I can "pull it out of my pocket" ready to go. It is never attacking. It is always a feedback report. I note that no matter what I really think, if I accuse someone of being a bad person or I attack them or their thoughts, they fight back, label me, and learn nothing. They just make the interaction about ME being a bad person who calls names. I tell them how their comment made me feel. All I message is, "Oh. I don't really believe that black people and white people are different in that way and it makes me very uncomfortable and sad to hear that from you." Interestingly people respond to this sort of calm input with deep shame, which is what you're looking for...

It's interesting, because it works by turning the thing in on itself. Racism is really a social construct for building community. We say negative things about the "other" so that we draw closer to those who are more like us. When it has the opposite effect, the person steps away and tells us we're creating distance instead, the impact is that the racism becomes a useless tool. The kinder and more gentle we are as we disavow it the more the person feels that they lost a connection with someone worth being in relationship with. We are all just apes after all, down from the trees, but still safer in a tribe than on our own...."


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