My $200 Asics got a hole in them…..6 weeks after I bought them.
Although, in Asics defense, I do workout every single day. And maybe 42 workouts isn’t that horrible for a shoe.
My active lifestyle is a mutha-f-ing source of pride! And I’m not afraid to own it.
It took me DECADES of work to get to this point! And I feel like I’ve earned the habits I’ve created!
It feels weird not to sweat in a day.
And for me? Working out is automatic. Never an “option.” Always a given.
They say that 95% of our thoughts and behaviour, comes from our subconscious mind. And so, the trick to making anything routine? Is to slide it on in to the “subconscious” category.
But what about bad habits?
It’s the same deal….but in reverse. You want to bring those bad habits into conscious thought. Then DECIDE not to do them.
The bad habit of racism
This? This! Is the lesson I’ve been reminded of, over the past week….amidst the rioting and chaos and anger that surrounds the death of George Floyd.
Now, I’m not a political person. I’m not an activist. And also? Being a white woman from Canada, I speak from a certain place of…..privilege.
I would never in a million years consider myself racist.
But something that this movement has brought to light for me, is the habitual, routine, and subconscious way that racism exists in our own minds.
Generation after generation, black people had their rights and freedoms stripped away from them…..treated as property. Abused. Dehumanized.
Racism oozed it’s way into the grander scheme of things. Systemic poison.
And injustice became habitual. Automatic. A given.
It’s just the way society operated. As disgusting as it was (and still is).
And it was only in the last 60…70….years, that racism even BEGAN to be challenged. Brought to light. Taken out of the “subconsious” category, and moved into the “conscious” category.
But as we know….bad habits are hard to break…and tributaries run deep.
Unpacking your bias
I try to unpack my own subconscious mind. Struggling to understand the ways in which I too am biased. Or subtly judgmental.
And it’s uncomfortable. Really uncomfortable.
I think back to my own childhood. I may have had one black friend in elementary school. But that was about it.
My neighbourhood was predominantly white. And I didn’t think much of it.
I do remember the expectations I had…."black people were always good at sports." And they could probably "dance really well."
It wasn’t a negative interpretation….but a generalization nonetheless.
Most of my experience with race? Came from TV.
Like most children who grew up in the 90s, Family Matters was a TGIF staple. I detested Steve Urkle. But not because he was black. Because, well….Jesus how annoying.
There was often a “sassy” black girl on some of my favourite shows. Lisa Turtle on Saved by the Bell. Charlie’s girlfriend, Grace, on Party of Five.
Peter on ER was one of my very favourite characters. But truthfully, I can remember my 12-year-old self thinking….wow, a black doctor….good for him.
Survivor almost always featured a “token” black guy. And I’m almost certain I learned about the stereotype that “black people can’t swim” and “black people are lazy,” by watching the show.
Once I hit high school, the phrase “once you go black you never go back” hit my ears. And I can remember being very curious about what it would be like to date a black guy. My every sexual desire supposedly satisfied.
I loved Beyonce. Usher. Jay-Z. And I was well aware of the “strangeness” of Eminem…a white rapper.
The road to un-learning
Aaaalllllll of this. Lives in my subconscious.
And it's incredibly shameful. It makes me angry. It makes me resentful. It makes me utterly uncomfortable.
And that’s not even the worst of what it could be!
There are many people who judge black people in MUCH harsher ways! Not to mention the stereotypes that exist for other races!
And so, as I shine a light on the biases that exist in my own brain, I realize the importance of bringing them to my conscious mind. To boot them out of my subconscious. To allow each interaction with someone….regardless of race…….to be fresh, new, and untainted with preconceived notions.
I mean, my god. Would I not want the same for myself?
But it feels almost impossible to un-learn something.
How do you re-program? How do you do a Ctrl-Alt-Delete hard reset?
And Jesus, if I feel frustrated by this…..I can’t imagine the frustration a black person might feel! To not be seen for who you are…..but rather, to be seen as someone you are assumed to be?!
The judgment, the characterization of a race…..it lives in the crevices of society. And we are fed the idea that everyone in life can be cast into a “role.”
Do not sit idly by
I think one of the most important things I’ve learned over the past week, is that silence……is just as harmful as active abuse.
Silence is the choice to ignore. The choice to accept. The choice to condone the status-quo.
And if we are truly committed to breaking the bad habit of racism, it’s gotta be out loud.
How do you change the story? You put down the book, and pick up a new one.
Self-education is huge. And rather than just accept what is being served to me, I’ve really become aware of the importance of changing the channel. Exploring the pages of history that were not written. Or maybe written….but appearing only as a footnote.
Show up to the battle
These thoughts? Swirl in my had as I lace up my Asics. Holes and all.
I head out for a run, and only when I reach the half-way point, and turn around, do I realize that the wind was at my back the entire way there. I have to push hard to run the same distance home.
Huh. It hits me. Imagine having to work 2x as hard, to do the same damn thing.
This is what racism does to those who bare the brunt of it.
Like wading through mud. When others get to take the bridge.
I think of my white children. Desperate for them to be sheltered from the onslaught of racial profiling that will inevitably pierce their subconscious.
But no. If they don’t know about it. They’ll never be able to help change it.
And although it may seem counterintuitive to look the beast in the eye…..love will only ever win, if it shows up to the battle.