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To My Community

To all the Black members of my community, we stand with you, always. My team and I love you, and you matter to us.

The United States is reeling with the murder of George Floyd and the consequent boiling point that has been reached in America – and beyond – over race issues, the oppression, the violence towards Black people, which of course is nothing new, has been going on for a very, very long time. But it seems to have reached, I suppose not even a new level of awareness, because I could only imagine the frustration of the Black community in knowing that these images are put forward time and again and nothing gets done, but does seem to have reached a different crescendo in terms of the chord that it struck with people at scale.

I have thought long and hard this week about what to do with this week’s video, about what I wanted to say, about what I could possibly say that wouldn’t sound trite and cliche. And I spoke to Black friends of mine this week, I spoke to a friend of mine Darien for two hours this week, where he told me, “We don’t just want to hear a repetition of the narrative that we know so well.” He said, “This violence has been happening to us our whole lives, it’s just that white people are now being affected emotionally by the violence that has been happening physically to Black people.”

I also am so aware of the risk that people like myself run of simply jumping on the bandwagon of something because it’s popular to do so. And the last thing I want to do is trade on the attention that this moment has created and do something just because it’s expected, or just because it feels like the thing to do. Everything I do, everything I’ve done over the last 12 years, I have strived to do with intention and with authenticity, and I see this as no different.

And in the interests of being authentic, I don’t exactly know what to say about this issue. I’m out of my depth in talking about these issues. I certainly don’t understand them. I’m working to. I have always felt that one of my greatest strengths in life, one of my natural gifts, is empathy. And yet, how could anyone understand, having not lived that life of both overt racism and subtle undercurrents of racism that are faced daily by people in the Black community? That is something that we can only begin to connect to through hearing these stories, through seeing these videos, and through talking to people and listening – the great skill that is needed right now of truly listening.

What would pain me is to think that Black people in our community, people who watch me every week, think that I am not there for them. Think that I’m not showing up for you, think that I’m not sitting with you in some way. And so I thought let’s just take this week’s video, not for me to give advice, not for me to pretend I can be an expert in any way on this or come along with some really intelligent insight, but simply to say, I love you and I am here for you.

And I know that you are on an emotional roller coaster through this time that I cannot possibly comprehend. But that doesn’t mean I can’t be there with you in some way. Just as in a relationship, we don’t always understand the thing that our partner brings us: they could bring us a family issue, they could bring us an issue from work, they could bring us a health issue, none of which we can fully understand or solve, but we can still sit in the room with them. We don’t need to leave the room and be silent.

One of the things that I get messages on all the time when it comes to people’s love lives is the idea of gaslighting. That the person they’re with makes them feel crazy for the thing that they’re upset about, for the thing that they see very clearly is wrong in that person’s behavior, but their partner is making them feel crazy for saying it’s wrong. That they’re being over-reactive, that they’re being difficult, that they’re seeing things that are not there. It is a nasty, nasty thing that is done in relationships that makes people feel like they’re crazy.

I watched David Goggins this week make a video about the experiences that he had growing up, the racist experiences that he had, and how, when he wrote them in his book as an adult, there were people from his past that made him feel crazy, that made him feel like they never happened, that he was exaggerating, and how crazy making that was for him.

As disgusting and as horrible as these videos we’re seeing are, I can’t help but be grateful for the fact that we are seeing them, that we’re being made to feel this uncomfortable. Because these things are inarguable, they are indisputable, they are wrong, they are a disgrace. And it’s time for me and for people like me to check their egos and to listen. To not be defensive when we’re being told these things, when it’s being revealed to us the ways that we have ignored things, the ways that we have stayed silent on things. But to check our egos and be brave enough to relinquish our story of how wonderful we think we’ve been, and to understand what we can do to do better. To take on new ideas about how we can proactively make things better, and how we can learn more about what the experience still is for so many, how so many people in this world are having such disgraceful and uncivilized experience of our apparently civilized modern world.

For those of you listening right now, watching this, who are Black members of my community, I love you. I’m with you. I am in your corner. And I don’t know how to contribute on the level that I want. I don’t know how to solve this, clearly very few people do. I don’t know what the answers are, but I know I love you, and I know that I am so, so grateful that you are here.

And I hope that you’ll leave a comment, either letting me and other people like me know where we should put our attention right now, what books we should be reading, what voices we should be listening to, and perhaps most importantly of all, what your story is. I know that it’s an intensely vulnerable thing to leave a comment that talks about yourself and your story, especially when it relates to race issues, but I know that we would be grateful to read it. I know I will be, I will be reading them, every single one of them, and listening to everything you have to say.

So I’m here to learn, I’m here to listen, and I’m grateful for anything that you can share with me to help me do that. I’ll see you next week.

 

P.S. For anyone interested I have included a list below of organizations I have chosen to support with donations this week. **In addition, when we first posted this video this morning, I had it demonetized out of respect so as not to profit from this video. However many of you pointed out in the comments that it would be better to have ads turned on and have the revenue go to the cause. I love the idea, so I have, and 100% of the proceeds from this video will also be donated to the causes below:

1- My Brother’s Keeper Alliance https://www.obama.org/mbka/
2- Center for Policing Equity https://policingequity.org
3- Equal Justice Initiative https://eji.org
4- NAACP https://www.naacp.org
5- The Girls Opportunity Alliance Fund https://www.obama.org/girlsopportunityalliance/

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64 Replies to “To My Community”

  • Thank very much Mathiew for doing your best to protect your brand. This is not interesting when white people are against black people forgetting they are human beings. May God bless you and be with you always
    You always help many people in this world I included. Thanks so much

  • In a time when none of us really know what’s going on or what to do to get thru this difficult time for every single person in the world, I appreciate your honesty in saying you don’t know ether. How can any of us truly know what’s happening or what’s about to happen. We can only do our best to be the best people we can be and here’s our chance to put a not of the negative stuff in our lives, in the past. Lets start afresh and make a real change in the world. We’ve all been given a reprieve so lets use our second chance wisely

  • Thank you Matthew for sharing your thoughts and your honesty. I live in the U.K. and it’s not perfect by any means. People of colour have been racially abused most of their lives and yes some white people have been racially abused. The difference is 450 years. When you’ve heard your great grandmother talk about her life and the abuse she suffered, then your grand parents talk about the same thing, then your parents talk about the same thing and your mother holding back the tears until she got home so that people could not see. Then me, having to go through it as well. Would that not make you tired, upset, wonder when it will all change. Wondering is it right to bring children into this world so that people can do the same thing to them. If you get the chance at some point watch 13th on Netflix. And if anyone else is reading this no matter what race you are and have Netflix watch it too if you want to know more. Love you too Matthew x

  • Dear Matthew,
    Thank you so much for your words and action on this. I am studying for my PhD in leadership and identity. Which is identifying why ‘global majority’ people a term preferred more than ‘black or brown’ (Johnson and Campbell-Stephens,2010), face personal and professional barriers to exercising leadership in public life? The reason I started this study is that I couldn’t understand why after studying, qualifying and working hard, I just couldn’t achieve or be promoted in ways that others less qualified, experienced with a different shade of skin colour were. Being in the East when Brexit happened I found myself being faced with such overt racism that I had not seen since practising on the front line in London in the early 90s just after the then ‘race riots’. I have discovered the visible and occluded narratives that exist in organisations that continue to keep global majority people in their so-called lanes. Its been tough going hearing so many stories of the impact of hate. However, the journey has led me to recognise as I am seeing today that this ‘race’ issue will only be solved if both whiter and darker people work together what we call activists (blacks) and heroes (white) people work together as one human race to defeat in love. I’m a mother of five. my youngest daughter has a disability. I have always worked full-time with little support. I’m self-funding my PhD because my employers at the time decided that I earned them too much money for then to release me and pay for my dream even though it was agreed as part of my contract and as they acknowledged that they were paying me less than my counterparts. So yes it has been tough and COvid19 hasn’t helped but I hope my contribution to how we get to talk about race and begin to address it will help. Thank you once again for making a stand with us and showing you’re solidarity with this cause for the continuation of the human race. Someone once said if the 2 billion of us doesn’t know what the remaining 5 billion of us eats or sleeps then we should be worried. We are all related one race just different shades.

  • As a white woman from the UK here’s a great book that has helped me on my journey Matthew. Akala – Race and Class in the Ruins of Empire. He’s such an informed and eloquent writer.

    I’m sure our friends across the pond would find it interesting too as so much of what have done has affected them too.

    Read and share.

    Fiona xxx

  • Hello, Matthew, to be honest with you and even more so to the world racism it’s painful and it hurts. Am, not any mixed race but. I, really feel hurt when a white person look down on me just because of my skin color that God gave me knowing it suits me and it beautiful to look at. Am in Asian very much. Et
    Philippines
    Indonesia
    Vietnam
    Laos
    India and etc.
    I, wish you can see how the Asians people they laught at me once they see me and point at me to their own fellow Asians. To the Asians people they think is’s cool to laugh at my skin color.
    This has been the most disturbing discrimination about black skin i, means the death of George Floyd although many black African Americans had been short and killed in the passed innocent besides, This one man George Floyd death it hit me the hardest.
    It’s too much to bear my people in the white counties being killed for nothing more especially, is oftenly is happening in the US.
    Why? This had been happening till right now is still going on.
    Am, from Uganda by the way. But all my life had been going out with only white guys.

  • Thanku sooo much for acknowledging the issue and not turning a blind eye. Soo much has to b consistently done to get us from where we are and where we need to go. Theres so much oppressed hurt and anguis! We are overly legitimately fed up!!!

  • Thanks for acknowledging the crisis people face each day based on racism and i am grateful as a black person and I am expecting some changes for our future generation

  • I appreciate you using your platform to speak up about this. It’s so important! One book that is very illuminating about racialization is My Grandmother’s Hands by Resmaa Menakem. There’s also a great interview with him recently on the On Being podcast.
    At the end of your video, I wish you would have included Tony McDade to the list of honoring the Black people who were murdered recently. He was a Black Trans-masculine person shot by Tallahassee police last Wednesdays. Just like Black Lives Matter, Black Trans and Queer Lives Matter too.

  • Matthew,

    Thank you for having enough vulnerability to make this video.

    I heard you loud and clear. You have a great deal of empathy and that you love the black community.

    LOVE: Love is action, as you know being a relationship coach. By making this video you have shown love. I ask that you continue to show love, continue to show you care.

    Walk with us in a way you have never walked with us before. Listen to our hearts by watching our actions to the injustice that we face everyday.

    We all have experiences to share, and hardships to endure. Think of it like this… I have read the books of the Bible and intellectually I understand God’s word; but, do I know him, do I have a personal relationship with him?

    If, you read the books that have been suggested for you to read, please read them with your black friends by your side.

    I wish you love, inner peace and to always have a spirit of willingness.

  • I think empathy needs to be shared at least equally for the Law Enforcement Officers, many black, who die at the hands of violent criminals.

  • Your ability to empathize is inspiring. I think that’s one reason why you’re so easy to trust. And I hope more can see through your eyes this way. I wish more would. Thank you!

  • Hi Matthew, thank you very much for acknowledging the BLM movement but also being clear that you don’t have any special insight or advice. We appreciate white allies, not so much white saviours. I have been saying in various forums online that this is not a black vs white issue, it’s a everybody vs racists situation, and if you like to think as a white person that you’re part of the right side, then being silent about BLM is NOT an option.

    With regards to my personal experiences of racism as a black British woman, living in a major English city, most of it has been subtle, insidious or unconscious. To be honest, I would almost prefer someone call me an n-word to my face, because at least we both know where we stand. Being black in the UK has particularly been an issue while dating, so I am 40 and “still” single, which people are beginning to imply is my fault. I am aware of the stats that on dating websites black women are the least popular and are less likely to get responses to messages when they take the initiative to contact a man; that’s fine, I can understand that people have preferences BUT it definitely is racism when you continually get guys that want to sleep with you but wouldn’t dream of introducing you to their friends and family. One particularly spineless white English ex, who told me he loved me, and we talked about moving to LA together, also said that there was no point introducing me to his parents because “they’re really racist” and “don’t worry, they’ll die soon”. In my 20s it felt like prejudice from the man I loved was a small price to pay because I had found “the love of my life” so early, and I wasn’t going to die alone. Now, almost 20 years later, I would not tolerate any excuse from a significant other not to introduce me to their family if we’re planning a future together, and especially if that excuse was to do with any aspect of my identity that I am proud of now, such as being the daughter of immigrants, and my delightfully soft and glowing, highly-melanated skin.

    BTW I wasn’t actually aware that you lived in LA; my English ex does too, and has done quite well for himself in the film industry. I would never name and shame, because that’s not my style, but if you ever happen to be at a starry party with a bunch of white people and you bring up this story, keep an eye out for a very tall, hopefully red-faced Englishman! ;-)

    Thanks again for being a white ally, peace and love to you and yours x

  • I volunteered for Obama in 2008. And in 2017 I volunteered to get petitions signed for a ballot initiative in Florida that restores the right to vote to returning citizens who had previously been convicted of felonies, but had served their sentences. The system had a built-in check to keep them from having real power. We did it. We got it on the ballot, over 1 million Floridians signed the petition. And the majority of FL voters voted for it! We won! it was challenged. But yes, many have quietly been trying to take action. Change is happening! We now have over 1 million more eligible voters in Florida. And voting is power.

  • Sorry, one more. How can I forget. PLEASE WATCH the documentary “!3th” on Netflix! It’s about the history of black Americans since the 13th amendment. It shows how the criminal justice system and criminality was used to continue slavery.

  • I really appreciate how you have shown your empathy for this intense issue,Mathew.it’s atleast comforting to know there’s someone out there who cares and understands the discomfort of being a victim of racism. I believe there is no single soul on this earth who will understand why people have to be looked down on,to be wrongly accused of crimes they didn’t do simply because of the difference of their skin colour.No one understand why it had to be the Black race to be the inferior or whatever it is..Thank you again Mathew,for your love and care

  • Hi Matthew,

    First I want to thank you for being real, for honestly admitting you were not sure what to say or do, but you are open to learn. As a Black woman, it was really nice to hear. Not enough people say that and I wish they did. To simply stop and listen is a lot because we want to be heard without people changing our stories or putting our pain into perspective so I love that you talked about gaslighting too. I also wish people could put their ego aside and have the uncomfortable conversation. I am really grateful to anybody that on top of that stops long enough to think about their own beliefs and wants to know how they can be part of the change. That’s amazing to see!
    More than reading about the problem and it’s history, I think it would be great to add minoritie’s perspective on the dating world, it would add another layer of inclusivity.
    I read Patsy’s comment about her dating experience and I got chills, then I cried for a while because it mirrored my own experience. I live in Canada, born and raised and I’ve learned to deal with the plethora of strange comments or behaviour directed at me, but in the context of dating it can be quite hurtful. I can count the number of guys that would welcome me in their bed but wouldn’t openly date me because of what people might think and yes some of those guys will tell you to your face. I have to say, over the years this community and your work gave me enough tools to navigate the situation because I learned to have standards, but I’ve also had to add my own standards to reflect the fact that I’m a Black woman dating as a minority in a White world. Dating outside of my race, I consciously have to check if a guy is attracted to me because of what he sees in me or because he has a fetish or I’m an exotic new thing to try. I got caught a couple times and unfortunately I have other girlfriends who have similar stories because they are Black, Asian etc. Your core message already applies to all, but I think it would be interesting to have a conversation around how it translates to some minority groups.

    Hope it helps :)

    Noli

  • I can’t read all the comments to check but I hope someone has already suggested Be The Bridge by Latasha Morrison. It explores racial reconciliation in America – to include listening, lamenting, repenting and healing as a nation and as a world. We all have a part to play (hence the name), as we can all be ‘bridge builders’ in some way..

  • I am a white woman. My partner is Asian. I have never had to face comments about colour until we dated. Whenever we are out we get at least several comments or looks. This makes me sad for two reasons. One a lot of the comments are how we should not be dating as I am white. The other these comments are not just from white People but from Asian people to. I accept that people have a right to their own opinions but this is wrong. I think I was shocked more as I thought in this day and age things had got better. How wrong was I. My partner has even been beaten up for dating me. Which made me think of leaving him. Not because I don’t love him. I do. But because I don’t want him hurt again. We decided to weather the storm and we have come out stronger. I have no answers. All I hope is one day it won’t be this way and people can see people fit people and not the colour of their skin.

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