When Patterns of Racism and Othering Enter the Room

Racism and Othering continue to be wicked and controversial patterns to discuss and navigate, particularly for those deeply and directly affected by these patterns. Although there isn’t an easy, universally-accepted method for eliminating racism and othering yet, there’s something about the freedom to share authentic stories and impacts that makes it a more realistic/attainable possibility.

On December 7 and 12, 2023, Dr. Antonia Wilcoxon and I will lead a two-part conversation about these disruptive patterns in partnership with Human Systems Dynamics (HSD). We invite you to join us for Celebrating Curious and Diverse Communities: Transcending Racism and Othering. Details about the sessions can be found here.

Who Are We?
Antonia and I are certified HSD Professionals and independent consultants who help our respective clients identify the patterns and behaviors that limit and restrict their ability to achieve healthy outcomes and maximum performance.

What Are We Curious About?
As the leaders of this conversation, we began our collaborative process by identifying our What? – which consists of our individual internalized experiences with Racism and Othering. It became clear that Antonia and I needed to spend some time apart placing the mirror in front of ourselves, so we independently wrestled with our experiences and dissected and reflected upon them to see our authentic selves.  

This exploratory and introspective journey led us to new discoveries, curiosity, and lots of unanswered questions. Here are some of the things that we’re wondering:

  • What questions do I have about other races that I’m uncomfortable asking?
  • When does race matter, and when doesn’t it matter?
  • When have I knowingly and unknowingly contributed to racism and othering? 
  • When others appear triggered by the subjects of racism and/or othering, do I move toward or away from the issue? 
  • How can I use my identity, voice, and power in healthy ways when racism and othering enter the room? 

So What New Patterns Will We Learn Together?
We are planning together to bring you a rich and impactful experience. As we worked, we discovered that the transformation of racism and othering becomes possible when human beings actively practice the HSD Simple Rules. Here are the Simple Rules that will help us form new patterns together during the two-day Adaptive Action Lab:

Zoom in and Zoom Out
This is such a helpful way to look at issues. When we zoom in, we see details and conditions. We also see how they manifest at a close level. When we zoom out, we are able to see the bigger picture, the full map, and even patterns. This helps us to see how those involved in the issues might take steps to alleviate problems, solve challenges, and arrive at beneficial solutions.

Celebrate Life
When we see patterns more clearly, we are at the cusp of new discoveries, and learning. What we have experienced as intractable challenges become transparent and possibilities emerge. We celebrate!

Find the Energy in Difference
When we see a beautiful field of dandelions, they exhibit a feast of sameness and no discerning variety or diversity. Shift the picture to a colorful array of tulips in a field in Holland and the reaction we experience is palpable: the purples are deep purple, yellows, deeper in their color and bluest blues. We are excited by the diversity of colors. Humanity is a diverse, active, and energizing array of shapes, skin colors, shades, and vibrancy.  There is energy in us!

Search for the True and Useful
When we embrace the fact that we live in a complex, unpredictable world, we are embracing the potential of possibilities and unknowable answers. We negotiate on faith, instinct, and the certainty that, though we do not know where the answer is, the search for the true and useful is well worth it.

Connect through Stories and Impacts
An African proverb states that “stories move mountains”. It is in stories that we uncover our lived experiences, our wisdom, and the knowledge imprinted in us by our ancestors. Stories connect us.

Stand in Inquiry
It is in sharing our experiences, questioning the not so obvious, and being comfortable with unknown phenomena that we live humbly and aware of our presence in the universe. 

Our Now What? Invitation to Join Us
Ultimately, ‘Now What?’ contains our invitation for everyone in the room to use our individual and collective identity, voice and power to identify a clear pathway to seeing, understanding, and influencing a world where racism and othering no longer exist. 

Antonia and I truly believe that transcending these destructive patterns is a major step toward the HSD Vision:

People everywhere thrive because
we see patterns clearly;
seek to understand; and
act with courage to transform
turbulence and uncertainty into
possibility for all.

We’ve created a safe, collaborative, and curious space for you to bring questions and experiences about racism and othering. We hope that you will join us ready and willing to take an authentic look in the mirror with us.

We prepared a special space for these conversations to happen. We will invite your ideas, perspectives, lived experiences, and wisdom. We are looking forward to a journey of adventure where we learn from each other. We come to see each other in new light, reflecting on what new patterns emerge. We leave with a renewed sense of hope and possibility.

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