Week 2 Reflections from Gus Gauntlett

After a lesson-filled first week of beautiful sharing and challenging the self to open up and be vulnerable, we returned for another beautiful day of White Conversations for Racial Healing. While we still did not know what to expect from the people who were brave enough to stop in off the street, we did learn from the first week that there is power in simply asking questions about our whiteness. The Questionnaire is proving to be a magical jumping in point because it allows each person some private time to really think about their answers (and themselves). If we jumped right into the conversations, we would possibly encounter people with their guards up, afraid of saying something that could paint them as a racist, or simply as not as great of a person as they'd like the world to believe.

The day was filled with incredible connections, and also a lot of harsh realizations. I'm grateful for every single person who stopped in and shared where they are in their understanding of race and racism. I'm even more grateful for their fearless sharing of personal stories, some of which they admittedly had never said aloud. This gratitude is balanced with the painful understanding that many white people walk around leading seemingly normal lives, while carrying devastatingly and anxiety-causing fear, and/or misunderstanding of black people. Even though we believe that these feelings stem from Internalized Racial Superiority, a condition nearly all white people are born into, the fact remains that we all have great amounts of personal exploration to do to heal ourselves.

Every time I took an interviewee over to the Action Cards table, I had the privilege of exposing myself to these tips also. From "Make Eye Contact with People in Your Neighborhood," to "Say One Thing," all of these actions rest on my mind daily thanks to this process. I know we can all feel the respect and love that comes with acknowledging every human being on this earth (and on our street) as an equal soul worthy of honoring. I know we can all feel the strength and energy that comes from speaking up against injustices, even if the previous 100 times we stayed silent.

Bless up!

(photo by Fabian Farbeon Saucedo)