This is how I experience you

This is how I experience you.

I don’t see colour! This is a phrase that is often used as a defensive mechanism when accused of racism. Of course race is a construct but we are all socialised in a racialised society.

White people have been socialised to see black people as inferior, Black people have been socialised to see white people as superior. Men have been socialised to see women as inferior. That is a reality of a society that we live in and to dispute or act like that doesn’t exist is a lie.

To assume that, that socialisation is not going to inadvertently and unintentionally show up in our interactions with one another, across our diverse identities is naive to say the least.

For an example I have been socialised in a homophobic society. It doesn’t matter how ‘woke’ I think am. I can never assume that fragments of my homophobic conditioning no longer exist in my frame of reference and won’t show up in my interactions. If a member of the LGBTQIA+ community tells me that they have experienced an encounter with me as homophobic, that’s not a time to defend myself, that is the time to mend the relationship. And take the responsibility to reflect and unlearn my unintentional homophobic behaviour

This is how I experience you. I learned this phrase from Iyanla Vanzant. It is meant to communicate how others experience you, irrespective of your intentions. You might have not intended to hurt, that does not negate that those you are interacting with got hurt.

When they communicate that to you. It is a natural reaction to want to defend yourself. It is natural that you want others to see you the way you see yourself. However, that moment is not the time for that. That is the time to acknowledge the hurt that you’ve inadvertently caused, be curious as to how this has happened and do whatever you can to restore the relationship.

What we often do; which is the reason why some people avoid confrontation, is that we injure them twice by defending ourselves, which has an effect of gaslighting them, shaming them or even down right attacking them. Maybe the key to better relationships at work is to let go of who we think we are and be curious as to how we show up.

Are you a Black Woman in the Workplace who feels called to the next level of leadership, income and impact?

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Published by Hlatswayobusisiwe

MBA (Henley), Career Coach and Founder Black Women in the workplace www.blackwomenintheworkplace.com

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