We Name What Is Without Tiptoeing

Image by Capri23auto from Pixabay

 

I believe that the challenges that each of us face cannot be addressed unless we name what we see for what it is.

In this short post, I want to speak both personally and professionally about something that affects all of us, not as a political concept, but as a daily reality for many Americans, and as it so happens, for myself and for many of my clients.

I am naming it here, without tiptoeing. Whenever I see, experience, or see another person on the receiving end of racism and racist bullying either in front of my face or in the public sector, I will name what I see.

My promise to you is that I will believe you when you tell me your stories of being on the receiving end of racism and racist bullying. I will also believe you and help you name your own struggles with the racist concepts and bias, no matter where you have lived.

My promise to you is that I will not tiptoe around yours or the stories of other’s treatment at the hands of racist bullies by creating euphemisms, polite explanations, or lessening your emotional distress by calling the perpetrators of racism as simply “racially challenged.” While in public discourse there are opportunities for using more nuanced words to foster open dialogue rather than defensive name calling, in the therapeutic setting, racism and racial bias must to be identified clearly.

You are free to talk about race and the effects of racism on you and your family members, your workplace, your schools, and your communities. You are free to explore past and present scenarios you have traversed in your role in perpetuating generational and systemic racism in order to do something about it. 

Professionally, I do not talk about my political affiliations, yet you are free to talk about yours as they pertain to your care and sense of well being. My commitment is to support you. 

If you have a child that is experiencing racism or racial bullying, this is a crime defined as racial discrimination. You will need to know your state’s laws in order to understand what you can do as a parent to protect your child from racism in their schools and programs.

If you or your child is experiencing racism through Social Media platforms, you may wish to look at how each platform handles complaints, trolls, and bullies. You may wish to talk about how to monitor and limit what your child sees and the access that others have to your child via these platforms.

While racism and racist bullying are not new, what does feel new is the increase in tiptoeing that comes with racist exchanges in public dialogue. Many resist naming it. Much like diagnosing an illness, if you don’t name what is wrong, you can’t treat the problem. If you don’t name the racism that you see, it’s that much more difficult to face how it affects you.

You may ask, “Why wouldn’t I want to name something or someone as ‘racism’ or ‘racist’?” The answers are many.  Perhaps at its most basic truth, you may resist naming something so heinous because of the ramifications that follow. Just like naming abuse, it changes how you interact with the abuser and those who collaborate with the abuser. 

As a mental health counseling service, we do not discriminate because of gender, race or ethnicity, sexual orientation, age, or any other point of physical appearance or means of identity. If your concerns fall within the scope of our licensed practices and treatment experiences, you will be met with warmth, concern, and professional care.  If your concerns do not fall within our scopes of practice or experience, we may be able to refer you to someone else who can be of help.

That NYT Amazon Post

Editorial Note: It is extremely rare that I write about real stories as they happen. Confidentiality must be maintained in my work at all costs. However, the aftermath of an article in the New York Times in August 2015 demands a response.  In this post, all stories have been generalized; only the original post is referenced. I will not confirm the presence of employees from any one company in the Seattle area as clients. I was not approached by Amazon nor any other company to write this post. These are my own words.  – imei

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What do you do with workplace stress? What happens when you’re not sure you can “make it” in your workplace? We’re exploring these questions, and more!

On Sunday morning August 16, 2015, New York Times writers Jodi Kantor and David Streitfelt published an article about workplace ethics and conditions at Amazon.com. The article’s description from former employees who cried at their desks and were encouraged to tear each other’s ideas apart through use of internal communications sparked a firestorm of comments, including ones from current Amazon employees defending the company’s practices and attacking the veracity of the journalists. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos responded quickly with a letter to his employees, asking them to share whether they had experienced the stories found in the article.

How does any of this relate to a private practice in mental health a few miles down the road from Amazon’s headquarters? Why would I devote a lengthy post to what is being hailed by some as a classic example of media spin?

Continue reading “That NYT Amazon Post”

Keeping Your Mental Game On Part 2

In Part I “Getting Your Mental Game On”, I shared  four things to help you get your mental game on when things get rough. In review, we’re talking about dreaming,  observing, rehearsing, and learning from failure.

The next six keys will help you keep your mental game engaged and working for you. These are: developing resilience, not second-guessing yourself,  self-soothing, developing a positive mindset, adopting a self-care routine, and having fun and relaxing. This set of skills enhance what you have built in the first part of your mental game foundation.

Learn to be the bamboo. Photo from Creative Commons.
Learn to be the bamboo. Photo from Creative Commons.

5. Develop Resilience – Why is it that some people get back up after they emotionally, psychologically, and sometimes even physically fall down, while others stay down for a long time or quit when the going gets tough?*

Sometimes, it takes a series of set backs and strategy sessions for you to develop inner resilience. Resilience can have two aspects to it. One is a sense of elasticity or flexibility. The rubber band snaps back after it has been stretched, and in fact, the snap has a bit more bite to it when it is stretched further from a surface. The other aspect is that of recovery; that is, a resilient person recovers quickly from falling because she or he has strength and toughness; a fall, though it hurts, will not stop the tough person from dusting herself off and moving forward.

Continue reading “Keeping Your Mental Game On Part 2”