It’s Time for Real Talk

3 min. read

I want 2020 gone. Over with. Finis. Caput. 

My stomach hurts. I talk to myself out loud. I look for my phone more than I use it. I almost ran a stop sign yesterday. I’m off balance. 

I’ve felt this way before. I used to have days I called “no days.” I’d just want them over with––just one crappy thing after another. Go to bed. Get up. Start over.

But 2020 so far is a bunch of no days strung together. And I’m struggling to handle it.

The “it” I’m referring to is my anger.

Social distancing I can handle, actually applaud. But human distancing!! Now that pisses me off.

I’m enraged that three people stood by and watched George Floyd die. That nobody intervened. 

That  “if you see something, say something” only applies in airports. That we accept business as usual and chalk it up to problems we can’t impact.

I’m angry at myself. That I haven’t done enough. That I talk a big game about how leadership is everyone’s responsibility. 

That influencing others, getting buy-in and commitment, having an impact on people and organizations are great concepts for a leadership development seminar – even with activities  – but these are only sideline discussions and paid advice about how to handle the struggles inherent in organizations, and what leaders must do.

But the reality in all of this is that these struggles I share are not THE STRUGGLE.  The STRUGGLE I speak of is the difficulty and danger that is faced every day by people of color in our Nation – especially Black men.

THE STRUGGLE is not my “it.” I’m only an observer. Maybe informed a little more than the average person – but an observer nonetheless. 

So, it’s a good thing I am more a talker than a doer. And before you say talk is cheap, hear me out:

I talk – a lot. But I’m going to amp it up. Deeper, louder, uncomfortable, more enduring conversations – one at a time.

Time to deal with the hardcore truth. Not arm’s length experiences for me to conceptualize, to discuss in seminars as do’s and don’ts.

I’m not going to debate Black Lives Matters and White privilege. There’s nothing to debate.

I want to be politically incorrect and ask the obvious, dumb questions about experiences and impact.   

I don’t need to ask a person of color what I should do. 

I’m going to ask “tell me about you.”  

I am going to listen.

I will get angry again about personal indignity and inhumanity. How hatred, stupidity, and fear are bigger motivators than respect.

I am confident that asking and engaging with people about racism is a small step that leads to a big step. Confident

This is my commitment. To make the STRUGGLE my “it” that I bring awareness and education to.

To unite people around action and stop the spread of human distancing. It simply will not be tolerated.

It’s about long-overdue Respect. Dignity. Humanity

Today is about dialogue and action. And, there absolutely nothing cheap about that.

2020, I’m on to you. Watch out.