Just Do You

Because we always have choices…

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Posts Tagged ‘racism’

Personal Responsibility and Social Change

Posted by georgiannasaysjustdoyou on September 19, 2013


This week, the Miss America title was won by Indian American Nina Davuluri. For many of us, this kind of a breakthrough achievement for a woman of color is a cause for celebration. For others, it brings out the reality of the very real presence of racism, hatred, bad behavior and negativity. As discouraging and deflating as these negative reminders can be, there exists opportunity.
Whether it is racism, sexism, violence, domestic violence, bullying, anti-Semitism, discrimination or any of the long lists of ways that we see people behaving badly and in ways that harm others, we play a role in allowing it.
The reality is that we know these individuals personally. We witness the harmful behavior first-hand. Some of us respond by looking away, holding our breath, frowning and shaking our heads, hiding our Facebook feed or unfriending the offender. I would argue that these passive behaviors don’t go far enough. Not holding the offender directly accountable with words and actions is the same as an endorsement that allows the behavior to continue uninterrupted. If you are going to unfriend someone on Facebook or hide their feed, tell them. Otherwise, they won’t know that you are offended or that their behavior is not being taken well.
If we want the world to make TRUE progress and be a place where we all have a seat at the table, then we must take personal responsibility for our actions. Inaction = action. The absence of critical feedback can be an endorsement and permission to continue. Social change can and will only happen when we call our brothers, sisters, cousins, family members, friends, colleagues and neighbors on their harmful behavior.
In my years working with survivors of domestic violence, I can tell you that a continuous thread of commonality was in their dismay at the silence of the witnesses to their abuse.
I am NEVER recommending that you put yourself in physical harms way. I AM saying that we miss many opportunities to hold the people in our lives accountable.
One last thought on this for now…there is big difference between having an opinion about a subject or action and mixing that message by disparaging or harming someone based on their race, ethnicity, socio-economic status, gender, religion, sexual orientation, disability and so on. If you are guilty of this, you can change. You can think about what you are saying and why. Who are you trying to reach? What is your message? But if you can’t see it, it is my fervent hope that someone in your life does and tells you about it.
This world can be a better, safer place for all of us. It starts with personal accountability.

I don’t have the answers, but I always have thoughts. Won’t you share yours?

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Posted in Choices, Self-Reflection | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

Racism in society: Is it a growing problem?

Posted by georgiannasaysjustdoyou on July 3, 2013


The below video clip is from an interview I did with NECN alongside Wendy Murphy this morning.

From NECN: Racism in Society: Is it a growing problem?

Having discussions on race is so important. Shying away or ignoring the real problems that we face daily do not actually make them go away. As our population shifts and changes, so must the way we think about ourselves and the way we engage others. The idea of a majority population is changing when you think about the growing number of people who check off multi-racial on the census. Did you ever meet someone and wonder “what they are?” or “where are they from?” It’s part curiosity and part need to help us put people in a box (even if you don’t use that internal language, you are doing this). To know someone is from a certain country or from a certain geographic area helps us file them in our mental database which we associate with the characteristics we think we know about that place. It happens so fast we don’t even think about it.

Talking about race and talking about our lens helps us work through stuff that is there. It helps us learn.

In the Paula Dean case, she should own her bad behavior for what it was and call it what it was. It was racist behavior. Does that mean people cannot evolve? No, the beauty of the world is that we have the capacity to evolve. The real question is whether or not we have the will, strength and desire. Where there is smoke, there is fire. That is why we react so strongly. People don’t just accidentally use the “N” word. If you look more closely at other behaviors, patterns emerge. That is, unless we are actively looking at ourselves and making intentional changes.

We are always growing. And now, we have a society that is paying attention. We witness racist behavior that makes our hair stand up, makes us outraged, makes us cry. We also are seeing the responsible supportive active voices saying that we will no longer tolerate this. And we are also using our individual voices to move along that accountability chain. Social media plays a huge role in letting employers and corporations know what we really want. It is in their financial best interest to listen.

Racism is not a growing issue, it has been here. We are just finding new ways to confront it. Our work is not done.

I don’t have the answers, but I always have thoughts. Won’t you share yours?

Posted in Choices, Self-Reflection | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Diversity Matters, Bravo Cheerios & Wake Up Ad Industry

Posted by georgiannasaysjustdoyou on June 1, 2013


Some of you may have seen the new Cheerios commercial that features a beautiful family talking about the heart healthy quality of the cereal. It is a total feel-good commercial, right up there with the mushy commercials that make me misty-eyed.

Here is the clip from YouTube:

Is there anything that stands out about this commercial? It is a scene that is familiar to me, so at first, no, nothing in particular stood out. But then, this is not everyone’s “normal”. It seemed perfectly natural to me that a brown child have parents who are two different races. My parents have an interracial marriage, my mother being White and my father being Puerto Rican with tan skin. My children have me and their father who is a different race from me and both of my parents.

Has anyone read the 2010 census? Have they looked at the numbers of families/individuals who identify as multi-racial? Well, someone at Cheerios did. BRAVO to the ad team that presented this idea to Cheerios and BRAVO to Cheerios for embracing it, airing it and standing up to the backlash of racist feedback that resulted.

The ad industry is finally venturing into the real world where families look…well, like this family and lots of variations of races. I couldn’t bring myself to read the comments. I didn’t want to give my energy to the bad behavior. So I am giving my energy to the good behavior. I will put my money where my mind, and my family are…I am going to BUY MORE Cheerios and other General Mills Products. I am going to campaign for others to do the same. To show businesses that people do care about how they are portrayed, they do care about responsible and healthy representations of reality. Diversity matters. Embracing diversity matters and it DOES have a positive impact on your bottom line when you are responsive to the community you serve…to your clients.

I only have so many dollars to spend, but spend them I will, on products and services that are responsible and responsive. I am not saying we have arrived. As someone on a Facebook post wrote, we will know we have made progress when you have an interracial, same sex couple with a child of a different race from either of them…possibly with a disability? This is the real world. Families do not look the same. If you want to appeal to us, represent us.

I don’t have the answers, but I always have thoughts. Won’t you share yours?

Posted in Choices | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »