Made Up “Rules”

Racism and white supremacy are complex. There are so many difficult conversations to be had and many layers to unpack.

I’m struck by something Austin Channing Brown and Brené Brown were discussing in a recent episode of Unlocking Us.

White people often depend on rules to help them make sense of what’s going on. When those “rules” change or aren’t followed, we blame those who broke them. “Well my Black friend told me this before, so what you’re saying is wrong.” We depend on rules to protect our ego. When we’re called out, we don’t want to face the embarrassment. “This is what I was told, so it must be true,” etc.

This isn’t an easy process for anyone. There are not steadfast rules. It’s a constant game of listening and researching and learning more. It’s not about proximity: relying on the Black people or POC in your life to position you as a good person. If you are going to be on the good side of all this and work toward progress, then you have to actually put in that work yourself. You will inevitably rub up against embarrassment or even humiliation. Mistakes will be made. But we can’t hide behind the mask of “rules” that are always changing and growing.

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