I’m Proud of Us

I attended the recent Eliminating Racism Workshop led by Barbara Love1 and Tim Jackins. The still undischarged effects of internalized racism cause me to struggle when I want to share my thoughts, but I’ve decided to stand against that and share what I can. I’m following Barbara’s direction to all of us Black leaders: “No matter what you may feel, just open your mouth and let the words fall out.” So here are some words falling out.

I had decided that nothing would keep me from coming to the workshop. I have no greater wish than that a public, loud, open discussion and debate about racism take place every day and in every way possible. But that didn’t stop me from feeling trepidation and uncertainty about what I might have to face at the workshop. Typically people of the global majority and white people work on racism separately, but I was willing to give doing it together a try.

I have observed and been with my beloved white Co-Counselors over these last years of intense eliminating-racism work, and there’s no doubt good work has been done. However, so many racist patterns are part of the “wallpaper” of white existence that they go undetected by white people. These patterns are quite visible to us people of the global majority. I’m therefore agreeing with Barbara and Tim that we have to play a part. We must strengthen our counseling muscle. Even if we can’t yet be counselors for white people on racism, we must at least teach and lead them on the topic.

I’m so proud of Barbara Love’s beautiful strength and courage in her implacable efforts to end racism. Her intelligence shone throughout the workshop. She and Tim had made a brilliant decision to have Tim back her mind in this effort. It was a joyful experience for me to watch their two minds work together so elegantly on a topic that has stymied the world for so many hundreds of years.

Barbara started us off with an historical perspective on the creation of racism. She brought home2 how racism has been used over and over to separate and weaken people so that greed patterns can win. Then, with Tim’s support, intelligence, and perspective, we looked more deeply into the effects of racism on each of us, as individuals and as members of our Communities.

We had to take some deep looks at each other. Of course it wasn’t always a pleasant experience—but racism isn’t pleasant, so we had to expect that. I especially appreciated having the space for hard things to come up and having the leadership so that we never had to go away and give up on each other. We could stay and keep reaching for connection across race, no matter what. It touched my heart.

Every effort was made to have each topic group led by a person of the global majority and a white person. In most cases, the person of the global majority was the main leader of the group.

At one point we people of the global majority were asked to look around the group of two hundred and twenty-one people and choose a white person we didn’t know and exchange life stories with that person for ten minutes each. That was not a simple experience for me. It immediately brought up how much I worry about hurting white people’s feelings, how I often don’t notice white people I don’t already know, how I’m never quite sure if I trust white people I don’t already know, and how I’m not sure I want to know white people I don’t already know. Anyway, we all did it.

It was interesting to look at the white Co-Counselors I didn’t choose and wonder what, if anything, that meant for them, and then to finally choose a person and discover her humanness and our immediate connection. I learned something important there—about trying to see a person rather than just the overarching whiteness. I’ve already noticed a difference in how I handle things and think about people and relationships, out in the world as well as in Co-Counseling.

I’m proud of us and our work and especially excited to be in Re-evaluation Counseling after this brilliant workshop, and at this time. 

Fela Barclift
Brooklyn, New York, USA
Reprinted from the e-mail discussion
list for RC Community members

1 Barbara Love is the International Liberation Reference Person for African Heritage People.
2 “Brought home” means made very clear.

Last modified: 2022-12-25 10:17:04+00