From the start of the pandemic (or really, our attention to it here in the States), I’ve been fascinated by how it’s worked as a sort of highlighter or illuminator. Yes, it’s novel, sure, no doubt. The last few months have, in many ways, been unlike any other in my life and, I’m guessing, in yours.
And yet so much of what has arisen in us and in our communities during this time is anything but novel. A non-exhaustive list of things that were already there that are freaking out the Collective Us (and one that’s more specific to the white segment of the Collective Us) at the moment are:
- That we control very little in this life. Oh, we love to plan, and we use our executed plans as evidence of our mighty control, but those executed plans? They were, in large part, luck.
- We are intimately intertwined. This counts for cooties – hence the masks, etc – and also for money. Small businesses have long been feeling the squeeze from the gigantic players but we’re about to really understand what happens when we, the masses, shop Amazon instead of small business. And I don’t just mean to those businesses; money spent far afield stays far afield which means ripples of repercussions for communities.
- Systemic racism. Object permanence is what psychologists call it when a child comes to realize an object continues to exist even when she can’t see it. I feel like that’s what’s happening with white folks and racism right now.
So many of us are champing at the bit to get back to “normal.” As I wrote a couple of weeks ago, this discomfort can lead us to reactively cause ourselves more pain.
What if, instead of imagining a return to a world where we willfully pull the wool over our own eyes and wait for the illusions of control, autonomy, and fairness to return, we assumed these as the true norms (they are) and worked from here?
It may seem, at first, a dubious superpower but my knack for escorting people deeper into discomfort, to the heart of it where deep learning, growth, and meaningful action can be found, is a superpower indeed. If you’re curious about it, let’s talk. If you’re interested in more community, I’ve got that for you, too, with The Bigger Badder Crew.