Is Racial Injustice Over? Lets Chat For A Moment…
The Reality of Race Through The Eyes of An Orlando Based Black Therapist
Blog Created By: Mirsha Alexandre, MS, NCC
Well now that all the hoopla has died down with the racial injustices and talks of white privilege, it’s probably best we all move on. Right? Maybe not.
Well, actually, some of us don’t “move on.” The ugly realities of the world we live in is a daily part of life for many people of color out there. Here’s the thing, some people know me as their CBT Counselor. Some know me as their friend. Some know me as a volunteer.
What people are not recognizing is that in addition to those things, I am a BROWN Professional Counselor…
Who lives many days wondering if my husband will make it home safely, or get pulled over for “matching the description.”
A BROWN hard working professional, so that I can provide my three beautiful brown daughters with experiences, education, and opportunities that I hope will place them one step ahead of the very real white privilege they will most likely face at some point in their life.
I am an educated and competent Counselor who so often wonders “will my white client book another appointment, or am I “too black” in their eyes to provide them with the care and CBT treatment they could benefit from?
Please hear me, I know these conversations are uncomfortable. As a Brown woman who’s grown up with a large diversity of cultures in my close circles, I’ve been called an “Oreo” or “really smart for a Black woman” or “really pretty for a Black woman,” or even the “Whitest Black person” they know. I am completely aware of how uncomfortable this entire post can make someone feel, I mean imagine being on the receiving end of those comments – yikes, talk about discomfort. But I wouldn’t be the authentic CBT believer that I am, if I didn’t sit through this very necessary and uncomfortable conversation with you, and my personal friends. You see, any of the Counselors at GroundWork on a given day will tell you that avoidance is the number one maintainer of anxiety. I’d like to also believe that avoiding the conversations around racial injustice is probably the number one maintainer of racial ignorance leading to prolonged racial injustice. Here’s the reality folks, stop “being color blind.” Pretending race doesn’t exist is delusional in and of itself. There is Black, Brown, White…Asian, Latino, Native American, AfroCaribbean, Indian and so much more. We are not monochromatic. We come with our histories, our cultures, our experiences and we all carry our own power, and beauty, and wisdom, and potential. The sooner we recognize and treat Brown and Black (and everyone really) through that lens, the less a Brown person will have to worry if they’ll be accepted at work because of the nappiness of their hair.
I implore you that if you seek growth and progress in this world, check your irrational ways of thinking when it comes to people of color. Don’t read our minds and think you know how we feel about every white person.
Self-reflect on the filter you use to view people of color — pay attention to how many times you call them “they” or think negatively about an attribute they carry that’s different than what’s “normal” in your cultural world.
Watch your judgements and the labels you place on people, knowingly and unknowingly.
Accept the reality that white privilege does exist.
Acknowledge that I am as much a human with great potential and purpose in this world as you are.
Empathize and validate with someone else’s reality even if you will never fully grasp that concept.
Look, I don’t have all the answers. I’m aware the community of color has their own misconceptions of racial injustice and the White majority as a whole. The sentiment from above in regards to mind reading stands true for people of color as well. You do not know what every white person thinks or feels about race.
I also know that many Brown people carry stigmas about mental health and Counseling, and unfortunately, that is to their detriment. People of color, turn an open mind to what I am saying: Therapy is not just for White people. Your marriages can benefit. Your children can benefit. Your jobs can benefit. You can benefit.
Most of us have suffered injustices of some form, and we have adapted to our own unhealthy ways of thinking, feeling, and behaving. It would behoove us all to take some new steps, do some self-evaluation and restructured the way we’ve been thinking and doing life; stop avoiding the uncomfortable things in order to make changes towards a different future for the upcoming generation.
I am a Brown Professional Counselor, who never once thought this would be the topic of conversation for a blog post I write. However, remaining mindful of the times we live in, I am glad it is. I hope you too can walk away from this post with more emotional and intellectual insight into the racial errors of America.
Blog Created By: Mirsha Alexandre, MS, NCC
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