The first step to solving a problem is understanding it. That is exactly what Dawn Johnson and Chaz Sandifer of Let Go Let Flow are doing with their Wellness Wednesday chats. On the last Wednesday of every month, these ladies are hosting a conversation revolving around racial injustices in our society. The conversations are real and unfiltered so it allows for the raw perspective of a Black woman to present itself. I was honored to be able to be a part of this month’s conversation and am happy to share some major takeaways from the discussion.
Chaz started the conversation by asking participants who have been to a Wellness Wednesday chat before to share their feedback with the rest of the group. Of all the women who shared, one common lesson learned was that sometimes it is necessary to just listen. One woman said that it is easy to hear a story about a racist scenario and immediately think “I don’t do that” or “I would never…”, but that isn’t the point. The point is to listen to and understand the everyday challenges that Black women face. Another woman mentioned that having a conversation with a Black woman is much deeper than just attending a lecture or reading a book; stories are far more personal when they come directly from the source.
One of the main topics we discussed on Wednesday was the acronym “BIPOC” – Black, Indigenous, and People of Color. The group agreed that the acronym is used to group together “others” and that it is simply convenient to use. Dawn said something that really spoke to me, which was that it doesn’t make sense for Black people, Asian people, Indigenous people, and Hispanic people to be categorized together because the struggles that Black people face are distinctly different from other races. The disadvantages that Black people have are different from those of other races and should be acknowledged as such. Chaz mentioned that she has never selected “BIPOC” when asked for her race because she is a Black woman and the term BIPOC takes away from the individuality of being a Black person. If and when you’re unsure of what term to use, be respectful and just ask.
Lastly, the group discussed how important it is to see color. Many people say that they don’t see color implying that they treat everyone equally regardless of their skin tone. Our hosts, Dawn and Chaz, emphasized that people should see color. When someone says they don’t see color, they are denying the racial identity of the individual. Although race is a social construct, one’s racial identity contributes to their day-to-day experiences in our society and it is important to recognize that – not be blind to it.
Overall, it was an amazing conversation. We thank everyone who came to listen and share. So much can be accomplished by simply having a conversation. We are very happy to be collaborating with Dawn and Chaz to host Wellness Wednesday chats in hopes of developing a stronger, more understanding community of women. Join us for our next chat! Sign up here.