I think a lot about humanity. Not in a “human race” kind of way but in a “what it means to be human” way. Being human means being flawed. Being human means doing the best with what we have in the moment. Being human means allowing ourselves and others to be who they are at all times. Remembering each other’s and our own humanity is a key part of antiracism work.
Antiracism work is relational in nature, even if we are looking at high level systems. Racist policies dehumanize people. Making sustainable change requires that people understand the ways in which current norms, policies, laws, etc. hurt our fellow human beings, but it also requires that people understand that the folks being hurt are human beings.
For me, recognizing my own humanity has allowed me to extend grace to others. I understand that I don’t have all the answers and that I will inevitably do or say the wrong thing at some point in the future. As I discussed in my piece about being wrong, those moments don’t make me a bad person; they grant me the opportunity to learn and grow. I have historically held myself and others to high standards, but in realizing that those standards are sometimes unattainable, I am able to deepen my understanding and be empathetic to others who struggle alongside me.
In caucus spaces I ask white folks to reflect on their own behavior and worldview and then consider how they might change both of those things. In that spirit, I now ask you the following: What are some ways that you can remember to recognize the humanity of others? What are some ways that you can remember to recognize your own humanity? How might that change how you show up in the world, and how might that then change how others show up?
©2019 Judy Blair LLC
4 replies on “Humanity”
[…] talk about why we would want to put them first. Putting our relationships first requires that we humanize the people with whom we have those relationships, regardless of how we feel about them. […]
[…] work is relational by nature. It requires us to be in relationship with others, to recognize the humanity of the people around us. Such relationships require trust, which is a thing easily broken. As […]
[…] Anti-racism work is about power, so examine the power you hold. Anti-racism work is humane, so work on recognizing the humanity of those around you and yourself. Anti-racism work is integrated into everything, so consider how it shows up (or doesn’t) in all […]
[…] in are soft skills, things that I’ve written about in the “squishier” posts on my website (Humanity, Putting Relationships First, and Underpinnings). Last week, Harvard Business Review* published two […]