Racism is real. Sometimes it’s obvious, but often it’s more subtle. But it’s real. And people of color are hurt by it every single day.
It’s time to have the conversation.
The death of George Floyd was beyond tragic. It was inexcusable and horrifying.
It also started a conversation. A very loud conversation about race and how racism looks in America.
It’s easy to stay silent. But the truth is that this conversation is loud enough now that nearly every American is going to have some sort of response. And that’s ok. Because this is a very serious issue.
It’s time to bring this conversation out into the open. For all Americans to have conversations about the reality of what it means to be black, or any minority, in the United States. For each American to “do the work” of sitting with this reality. And then, to look at where change needs to happen.
If you are a person of color, we see you.
Racism is not new. You’ve seen it over and over again throughout your life and the generation before has seen it throughout theirs. Sometimes it’s direct. Sometimes micro-aggressions. What racism looks like has changed over time, but you’ve lived this.
You weren’t shocked by George Floyd’s death. Angry? Yes. Outraged? Probably. Scared? Likely. Sad? Without a doubt. But not shocked. Because you see every day how alive racism is in America.
And you remember the other deaths. Perhaps you’ve protested before. Maybe your pleas for policy change in the past fell on deaf ears.
For you, the current news cycle is triggering old trauma. It’s bringing up past memories. Perhaps you’re remembering past incidents of racism that stuck with you. Moments where you were hurt or felt less than. Maybe you’ve been thinking about previous protests that held such power in the moment but then abruptly stopped without any meaningful change.
We want you to know that our therapy office is a safe space to bring up your feelings, memories and reactions. We understand that racism touches your experiences in ways some may never understand. We know racism causes trauma. So, we’re here to listen.
If the therapist you see is white and does not share your experience, know that we believe it’s not your job to educate them. It is their job to support you. Call out your therapist if they ever do or say something that feels invalidating of who you are as a human. Because you deserve a space where you feel 110% supported.
So, please bring this up in counseling sessions if you’re struggling right now or anytime. Know that we want to support you and help you process.
If you are white, race still impacts you.
I was talking to a colleague this week about how different the protests over George Floyd’s death compared to the others. The biggest difference is the impact it seems to be having on white people too. Many white people are seeing racism through a new lens.
You see, for us it’s often all too easy to tell ourselves racism is a thing of the past. When we hear something on the news, we tell ourselves that the person acting racist was somehow a bad person. And then, we reassure ourselves that we can’t be racist ourselves.
But now, we’re realizing racism is actually really, really common. And that sometimes even we are racist without meaning to be.
Yes, I said we. In past jobs, I have unknowingly supported policies that impacted my clients of color differently than people of color. I have said things that were invalidating or insensitive. I have sat back when I could have stood up.
The truth is, we live in a racist culture, so we are a product of that culture and of our own experiences.
It’s also ok to have a variety of emotions right now.
Maybe you feel guilty realizing that you’ve said or done things that may have been hurtful in the past. Perhaps you feel confused or shocked. Or maybe you feel angry. You just wish all of this would go away.
However you feel right now, we want you to have a safe space to voice those feelings. It’s ok if you don’t think you’re feeling match up with how you “should” feel. Your feelings just are. And it’s important to not let them just bottle up inside. So, let’s have that conversation and let’s talk about your reactions.
Our therapists are ready for this conversation.
I just got done with a long consultation Zoom meeting with many of the Aspire team and we all agree on one thing: it’s time to hold a conversation about race. We can’t ignore this anymore, because people are literally dying.
So, let’s talk. If you’re a current client, please don’t hesitate to bring the topic of race up in session regardless of your own race. It’s also ok if you have a belief that’s less than popular. We’re here to listen.
Because I believe that silence is a huge part of the problem. We can’t cope with feelings or solve a problem without first acknowledging our own feelings.
So, come to your counseling sessions with your whole self. Come ready to talk and share and be vulnerable.
We’re ready for that conversation.
Beginning Counseling with Aspire Counseling
You don’t have to struggle alone. Aspire Counseling offers mental health services for individuals (ages 10-senior adults) in our Columbia, MO counseling office or online anywhere in the state of Missouri.
If you or someone you care about is looking for healing, getting started with Aspire Counseling is easy:
- Contact us to get matched with one of our therapists.
- Meet with a therapist for a free consultation to make sure it’s a good fit
- Start finding healing and moving forward toward your goals.