“I learned a ton, but it traumatized me.”
If you’re being honest, how many times have you said that about being in white spaces?
I was talking to a friend earlier today, and said that about a leadership program I was in last year that changed the course of my life and business.
Yes, some of the shifts that came were because of what I learned through the program…
…but the big changes, well, they came from the trauma.
This program is the straw that broke the camel’s back, and lead me to do what I had been pussyfooting around for months:
Making my spaces women and femme of color only.
Because after feeling like I was suffocating and losing my mind in order to take in the “incredible information” from that leadership retreat, I realized the truth:
I was losing my mind because I was in a white space that lied and said it was a neutral space.
It was a program that had really great information about leadership (some of which I still think about today) but I was constantly navigating:
- feeling out of place
- constantly having to filter the information through a culturally competent lens
- a leader who had full white woman tears when confronted with her…well, whiteness
- other well-meaning participants who treated me like a walking DEI consultant
The reality was that it just wasn’t made for me, or the other participants of color.
The leaders didn’t understand why all of the Asian participants centered the experiences of the group before their individual needs.
They didn’t know what to do with a client who disassociated because she felt fundamentally unsafe around large groups of white people.
And to say the program wasn’t trauma informed… wow, honestly – that would be an understatement.
After going through this horrible experience, I recognized that we needed POC centered spaces in the same ways that everything else in the world is a fucking white centered space.
This is why I’m so passionate about supporting revolutionary leaders of color in my 1:1 and group coaching from a BIPOC centered lens…
…because to be honest, most of the shit around leadership (even revolutionary leadership!) is hella fucking white-centered.
(Yes, even those “anti-racist leadership/business” courses we all see online.)
And to be honest, there’s virtually nothing out here for experienced leaders looking to lead in anti-capitalist, anti-oppressive ways.
This is for you, though, precious.
And spending time with media, or in spaces, and with people who see and honor your experiences as a:
person of color
gender non-conforming human
Well, it’s healing.
If you remember nothing else from me today, remember this:
You deserve to spend an abundance of time with media, newsletters, podcasts, communities and containers that center your experiences as a BIPOC person and a revolutionary leader.
That alone is deeply healing and will create so much more capacity for you to go out and continue to be a revolutionary leader.
You shouldn’t have to filter to get that good good.
That’s energy that you can spend out there creating impact, changing lives, and impacting the world.
And in this space, you won’t have to filter.
This shit is made for you.
You deserve this.
I get you and see you.