For over 30 years, Tema Okun has devoted her life to dismantling racism and oppression of all forms. In this episode, Tema discusses her own evolution as an anti-racist white person and some of the hard-earned lessons she’s learned along the way. As she mentions in the episode, racism is not something that can go away through a half day workshop, it is a long and winding road of facing into oneself and the systems and structures in the air that we breathe. Doing this work will inevitably activate guilt and shame, feelings we are all socialized to avoid. But the cost of not facing into these feelings is too great. She says, “The cost of racism to all of humanity is our ability to be fully in community with one another.” The most radical thing we can do is understand when we feel it; to DEEP DIVE into it and recognize below that there is love.
White dominant culture has such deep levels of denial and is behind disconnection from ourselves and other people. White dominant culture hinders authentic connection between people by placing a premium on being right, on pretending we are ok, on niceness, and reinforcing the good/bad binary. Doing the work of anti-racism requires a lot of practice in being in a state of not knowing and that can be uncomfortable for many of us. White dominant culture teaches that you if you make a mistake, you are a mistake but we don’t have to buy into that. We are ALL harmed by injustice, white people, too. Let’s create something new by focusing on what we want and not just fighting against something we don’t want. Join us for this important conversation!
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