If you are familiar with my blog, you know my mother, and I were at odds when I started the blog in 2013. Now I have learned how to listen to her. With her accent, sometimes everything she said sounded like an attack. My involuntary response was to be defensive, which took us down a rabbit hole without fail. Today, I am less defensive and more appreciative of her. I took the time to appreciate our differences in communication style. That act changed the trajectory of our relationship. We grew close and built a foundation of trust, respect, and love. I listen without feeling personally attacked. In doing so, I noticed her tone became softer. Today she is not only my mother but one of my best friends. That’s how inclusion should work.
Inclusion is partly accepting people as they are. Another way of saying this is meeting people where they are. It doesn’t happen overnight because it’s a process of self-awareness where in this case, whites understand their culture. I know many white people think culture does not apply to them. They’re wrong.
In not recognizing their culture, they have difficulty appreciating non-white cultures. So they never start the process of valuing the multicultural world. Yeah, they might travel and enjoy the food and different customs. However, that is where it ends, making inclusion a challenging concept for many whites.
In a white-dominated society, the expectation is that different ethnicities should change their communication style and culture to fit into a privileged culture whose foundation is one of bigotry, division, and violence. Many like to pound their chests about how they pulled up their bootstraps. It’s a lie. First, their white skin opened the doors to opportunities not available to people like me. My skin is a target that closed the doors to options making people like me feel trapped without any bootstraps to pull up.
Many non-white cultures want to be part of the mythical American Dream. They don’t realize money will get them through some doors, and for many, that is enough, but they will never be included. White women know this to be true. Despite the gains made on the backs of the Black Civil Rights Movement, they still fight for gender equity today. Interestingly, gender is now a euphemistic term for White women who want equity with White men but need other ethnicities to join their fight for more power. Gender is not inclusive of all women, just white women.
Past studies have shown the detrimental effects on health when people are misled or forced to abandon who they are to fit into or be included in an unwelcoming sick society. The harm done becomes genetic and passed on to descendants. Our brain is constantly changing as it interacts with our environment. Same with our DNA, the change subtly. When we stifle who we are, that puts us at risk for emotional, mental, and physical illnesses. Ever wonder why HTN is so common in Black communities?
Lately, I can’t go on TikTok without a barrage of trending videos with White people talking about the past crimes against humanity inflicted on Black people. Why are white people suddenly outraged about their terrorism against Black people? With Juneteenth coming up, who will benefit most from the holiday? You got it! That’s inclusion for a white-dominated society: White people use their privilege to be the voice of anti-racism while misappropriating or hijacking Black culture for money and power.
In times of crisis, the wise build bridges, while the foolish build barriers. We must find a way to look after one another as if we were one single tribe. –Blank Panther quote
What do you think? Will we ever live as a single tribe with an appreciation for our differences in a white-dominated society?