06 Jun Pause for Thought: “What if?”
This past week, I saw a post from Leslie Dwight that asked “What if 2020 isn’t cancelled? What if 2020 is the year we have been waiting for?….2020 wasn’t cancelled but rather the most important year of them all.”
To discover the answers to those questions, we have to pause to make sense of this time we find ourselves in and what it is asking of us. As I reflected this week, I thought about how sabbaticals are often considered to be something academics do with the distinct purpose of learning. So, maybe we, as a society, need to take a sabbatical of learning (or unlearning) about the systemic racism that is embedded within it. It is hard to learn and listen when we are in a rush or trying to keep the status quo. It is time to take a (un) learning pause. Maybe that is what this time is asking of us.
We need to take a hiatus from regular life. Do the work. Listen and learn. Enter into the discomfort to uncover the questions we need to find answers to and change ourselves. This is the work of a sabbatical but it is also the work of humanity. For centuries, racism has entrenched itself into our society’s systems that many of us with white privilege cannot see it. It will take time to change and that time starts now.
As our hearts continue to break for the loss of life and the injustices to Black People in America and our own racism in Canada especially towards Indigenous Peoples, the time for silence is over. This universal pause is just what we need to change ourselves and our communities towards a more just and equitable future. At Conscious Pause, our mission is to undo busyness through sabbaticals. We encourage our clients and friends to uncover the underlying messages of capitalism around productivity and how our perceived “value” gets swallowed up in our work, and what we are so busy doing. This is the season for learning and un-learning things. The time for silence and not knowing is gone.
Just because we don’t experience injustice, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. Listen to the stories of others. Don’t make this learning about you but make it about changing the systemic racism. We all play a role but we need to stop and reflect on how we have benefited from the system and the privilege we hold within it. We will never arrive as a fully-knowledgeable ally. Just know this is life-long learning and change.
When people first begin to awaken to the work that needs to be done, they don’t know where to start. That is normal when you start to explore unknown territories. So we will provide resources for you to begin similarly to how we provide resources for those considering a sabbatical. This is just a very short list to get you started but the resources below will help you work towards anti-racism in yourselves and communities.
- Me & White Supremacy by Layla Saad
- Anti-racism resources for White People
- Why Black Lives Matter Article – Harper’s Bazaar
- White Fragility by Robin DeAngelo
- How to be Anti-Racist by Ibram X. Kendi
- Video: The Oprah Show – Blue eyes/brown eyes with Jane Elliot