In this community, when the global pandemic broke out, we said, “we are in this together.” We supported each other, made space for each other and comforted each other. We raised money for people who were struggling to buy groceries, connected on Zoom calls and checked in on each other.
Now it’s time to use that momentum to be in this together when it comes to crying out against and ending systematic racism. Can we become anti-racist together? And if you aren’t sure what that term means, I’ll explain in a moment.
I’m no expert here, and I’m probably going to get things wrong, but if we are going to be in this together, things can’t be business as usual. We can’t ignore each other’s pain if we are in this together.
If you are a person of color, specifically a black or brown person in this community, and you are hurting, I’m holding you in my heart and committing to continue the anti-racism work I know I need to do.
I’ve been questioning my own blind spots when it comes to race over the last year and am not in a place of having everything figured out, but I am in a place of learning and listening. It’s not in any way comfortable for me to write about this, or to share it but my discomfort can not come before black lives.
I’m not in danger because I’m sharing these thoughts. I may lose subscribers and it may impact my business but neither of those things feel very important right now.
In case it’s helpful to you, here are 3 things I’ve learned.
1. Thinking “I’m not racist so this isn’t my problem” isn’t helpful.
Being not racist is not enough anymore. It never was but as Maya Angelou said, “Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.” We must be anti-racist. Being anti-racist means actively opposing racism (more on how to do it below).
What has been really helpful for me to understand in being open to learning is this quote from writer Ijeoma Oluo: “The beauty of anti-racism is that you don’t have to pretend to be free of racism to be an antiracist. Anti-racism is the commitment to fight racism wherever you find it, including in yourself. And it’s the only way forward.”
2. When someone says, “Black lives matter” don’t default to “All Lives Matter”
Of course all lives matter. Of course they do. But All Lives Matter is not an appropriate response to Black Lives Matter. Here’s a really simple way to think about it.
All houses matter, but if your house isn’t on fire, let’s focus on the one that is.
This might help too. “Black lives matter doesn’t mean all lives don’t matter but all lives can’t matter until black lives matter.” – Justin Simmons
3. We must stay focused on the priority.
I don’t condone looting or property damage but that is not the priority.
Zerlina Maxwell, author and co-host of a morning show posted the following on Instagram that resonated with me. “You keep saying, ‘It’s horrible that an innocent black man was killed, but destroying property has to stop.’ Try saying, ‘It’s horrible that property is being destroyed, but killing innocent black men has to stop.’ You’re prioritizing the wrong part.”
If you find yourself asking, Shouldn’t Courtney stick to simplicity and stay in her lane, then please consider what Be More with Less is all about.
Be more with less means: Be more you. Give yourself all the space, time and love to remember who you are. Living with less clutter, busyness and stress will help you make the room to do what you need to do. Simplifying your life will give me the space, time, and love to be more you.
When I first heard someone say to me some of the things I’m saying to you, I felt a lot of different feelings, defensive and uncomfortable among other things. But I’m not racist! I thought. I’ve never used a racial slur or violence against a person of color. I care about all people. If you find yourself feeling those same things, I understand. What I’m asking is that before reacting, you breathe and be open to considering something other than your initial discomfort.
I’m not here to teach you about racism or to shame you into action. I’m a simplicity advocate. I help you simplify your life to find your way back to love and health and will continue to do that. As I’ve said a thousand times before, simplicity is the way back to love, the way back to you. That said, we know the way back takes more than decluttering.
If you are thinking, “Racism is terrible but what can I do about it?” thank you for being open and curious. I’ll get into specifics below, but things you can do include educating yourself, listening, donating and voting.
If you do want to learn more about anti-racism and how you can help, this is what I’m doing.
Following people of color on Instagram including:
Reading these books:
Me and White Supremacy by Layla F. Saad
So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo
White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism by Robin DiAngelo
Donating to these organizations:
I will be in this together with you by listening, learning, supporting, donating and making space for and bringing awareness to black voices in the simplicity community, on social media and knowing better so I may do better. I’d love you to be in this with me too.