Creating Change, Tools & Coping Strategies

Coping Challenges: Racism is a problem everyone experiences — Untangled Connections

First, I am not black or African American and cannot imagine what you all are experiencing, feeling, or coping with right now. (please forgive me for using incorrect labels. I don’t pay attention and am not politically correct, but I also don’t want to offend anyone either). Second, I am not going to pretend or […]

Coping Challenges: Racism is a problem everyone experiences — Untangled Connections

Disclaimer: I am not an expert by any means. Not a therapist, medical or mental health professional. I do not diagnose, treat, or tell people what to do. The main purpose of this website and blog is education and support. If you are unsure how the suggestions and resources here may affect you, please discuss any changes to your existing treatment plan with your medical and mental health providers first.

Dear Guests,

I am not going to rehash all of what I wrote on Untangled Connections, but I will quote the first 4 items in the post. If you want to read the rest, please click on the link.

First, I am not black or African American and cannot imagine what you all are experiencing, feeling, or coping with right now. (please forgive me for using incorrect labels. I don’t pay attention and am not politically correct, but I also don’t want to offend anyone either).

Second, I am not going to pretend or ignore what happened, but I will be honest and say that I am not following the news or media closely and haven’t for over a decade. That is why I choose not to get political or share a specific opinion about recent events.

Third, the rioters and protesters marched by and partially surrounded my apartment building 2-3 nights in a row from Friday to Sunday. As I listened to the anger and the rioting, I hoped that the news and media would focus on the peaceful protesters and the important messageinstead of the violence.

Finally, I’d like to tell you all that racism affects everyone no matter their race, gender, religion, orientation, financial state, origin, intelligence level, or anything else that might be used to make a person feel less than human. And it’s up to all of us to use our skills and work together to end racism.

AlterXprerssions – from Untangled Connections

It probably doesn’t seem like the type of topic to write about here, but racism is a valid topic because it causes stress, tension, emotional distress, and challenging work/life environments that can negatively impact an individual or group of people’s lives. Racism these days is not always obvious or clear these days, but it exists and impacts people all the time.

Racism can be as simple as a double standard between men and women or two people ignoring a young person “joking around” about another young person’s lack of designer clothing. It can be a group of people excluding someone because they are afraid of competition or a change in group dynamics. It can be young children watching their parents shame and put down another family member in front of everyone – and no one stepping in to stop the public humiliation or put downs.

Or racism can be as obvious as recent events on the news. It can be a group of people walking out of a restaurant when someone who looks different sits down to eat what he/she purchased at the counter. It can be a wait person refusing to serve or being rude about the service in a restaurant. Or a white store clerk following a non-white shopper around as she looked through clothing racks and asking other white shoppers if that non-white person was distributing them by being so close.

How can I come up with so many examples of obvious and indirect racism?

These are all my experiences and the experiences I witnessed happening to people of other colors, religious backgrounds, sexual orientation, gender, financial status, military status, and intelligence levels. Some in the past 2 years. Others growing up. Or as recent as 6 months ago when I lived in my old apartment building.

So while I can’t, don’t, and won’t presume to know what others are feeling and experiencing right now, I can relate and offer compassionate acceptance, respect, and support. And, in my own way, I will keep using my skills to stop racism when I see, hear, or experience it. On my own and/or with others. Because racism isn’t about just one group marginalizing another group. It’s about all of us and how we choose to treat ourselves and the people around us.

And after each experience, I will use the coping strategies in my tool box, lean on my support network when the feelings become overwhelming, and keep on going. Aromatherapy helps in the moment. So does repeating affirmations and remembering quotes like the ones at the top of this post. Maya Angelou inspires me in so many ways. I hope she inspires you too. Thanks for reading.

Love and Rainbows ~ TJ

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