Is anxiety preventing you from being anti-racist?

Written by Rorri Geller-Mohamed, LCSW

December 24, 2019

You may not always label it as anxiety but that feeling that often comes up when we aren’t sure what to say, how to say something, or when we worry about what other people might think about what we say is very much rooted in anxiety. The American Psychological Association defines anxiety as “an emotion characterized by feelings of tension, worried thoughts and physical changes like increased blood pressure.”

Anxiety is a normal and healthy emotion but it is important that we are aware of how it can impact and often hinder our desire to end racism and work for racial equity. We need to be able to not only identify our anxiety when it’s coming up but also find ways to work through it so we can show up and do the work that is required of us to build the world that all of our children deserve. A world that eliminates the privileges/advantages that white people have and creates a racially equitable world. A world that is safe, loving, and inclusive.

This means that we have to be aware of what anxiety may feel like for us. It may be feeling a pit in your stomach, a knot in your throat, too many thoughts swirling around preventing you from sleeping well or many other things. It means that we have to identify our worries whether it is fear of more family drama, worry about being labeled as “that” parent, a relative crying, your child bearing the brunt of you bringing up issues at school, etc. Once we begin to identify it we can talk about solutions that work and how to address these issues.

As a white person, it’s really important that you work through these issues in not only a safe space but in a space where it can be done without causing harm to BIPOC (Black, Indigineou, People of Color). If it’s not done in an appropriate space you could unintentionally cause pain and trauma to BIPOC. This is why at U Power Change we created our Anti-Racism Parenting Program which is an intentionally curated space to help you move from emotions that may be preventing you from being anti-racist to engaging in the internal work to be actively anti-racist and working to dismantle racism and white supremacy.

The other day, Kendall (U Power Change’s Racial Equity & Liberation Guide) and I answered questions, talked about what this anxiety can look like, and discussed strategies in our Anti-Racism Parenting Q & A Facebook Live. You can watch it here: Click here

We want to invite you to join our Anti-Racism Parenting Program that starts in January. It is for white moms that are looking for specific strategies to guide them on how to navigate issues of race and racism with their family, friends, kids, school, work, and community. We dive deep into the emotions that come up related to white guilt, white shame, and white fragility in a safe space and guide you through a process that supports you in taking action to dismantle racism.

You can check it out here: Anti-Racism Parenting Program

Let’s get going. We need to be consistently showing up and doing the work.

To navigating emotions.

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