People of color are often so familiar with navigating white spaces that even when there’s a possibility of bringing more of ourselves into a room, we simply don’t know how. We’ve assimilated to white cultural conditioning, and that assimilation has become part of our identity. While this can help us “get ahead,” the compromise is that we forget what it feels like to be our whole selves.
–Yours Truly, Why People of Color Need Spaces Without White People
I’ve written something and a lot of people seem to like it. In fact, I’ve been a bit overwhelmed by the response. Since the publishing of this article I've been invited to be on two radio shows. I'm receiving emails of gratitude as well as emails about the trouble it's stirring in some communities. I've been called a truth teller and a racist. It's truly intriguing.
My experience of writing this piece was similar to my experience of writing anything. I observed something in my world and felt called to share it. I sent a draft off to my editors and they cleaned it up -- much love to my friend Gabe Dayley at The Arrow Journal, where this piece was originally published.
It’s an interesting thing to write something that gains attention. Yes, there is some excitement -- whoa 111 shares? -- but right behind that is fear. I feel the internal benchmark being set. How on earth will I continue to produce articles that generate this kind of response? What are people going to expect of me now? I'm taking lots of deep breaths with long sighs. I believe my work is not about getting somewhere or “becoming someone” but rather continuing to bring the fullness of who I already am into the world, supporting others to do the same and trusting that that's truly enough. I anticipate writing many more things. I suspect that sometimes they'll get shared and sometimes they will not. But putting something into the world and hearing crickets is only a failure if I solely value my work through other's eyes. What an interesting ride it is to be a writer -- one must truly be compelled to pursue such an unreliable craft. How often I’ve lamented I do not have a deep love for Excel spreadsheets and algebraic equations.
I believe this writing poured out simply because it was time for these things to be said. I'm a conduit. I opened myself up to being of service in this way and the universe said, great, here ya go.