This summer, I had the privilege of meeting a visionary.
Ebony Janice is self-described Womanist, Scholar, Activist, Teacher, Author, Student, Artist, Preacher, Transformational Speaker, Content Creator, Healer.
More than just self-described, I can attest that those labels don’t begin to capture the energy, conviction, and what I would describe as a fierce joy radiating from this woman.
Ebony Janice makes it known to anyone who cares to listen that *we* as a society are missing out on something transformational. Black women—specifically black women’s, voices, bodies, and spirit in the center of our cultural conversation.
As a white man, I make no apologies for who I am—and—I’m coming to notice more and more how our culture centers my male-ness, my whiteness specifically.
What if there were a hidden cost to doing that?
Now the cost isn’t all that hidden if you aren’t white, straight, male, etc., so please forgive me if that’s you. But if you are white, straight, male, etc., you’re missing out. WE’RE missing out and suffering in our own way by living in a system that got us here the backs of others, then lauds us for how hard we’ve worked and how high we’ve climbed, as if we’ve done it alone.
If you’re white, yes, of course your (our) hard work counts. Yes, you’ve (we’ve) suffered and overcome, and gotten raw deals, and all of that. Congratulations and thank you for everything you do. Seriously. I know lots of you and you’re pretty damned amazing.
There are plenty of folks who work hard too. There are plenty of folks who’ve suffered, who’ve spent a lifetime getting up early, working late, and doing the right thing—and who will never get the chances you (and I) have because of who we are.
*This is white supremacy culture.* It isn’t about overt hate and KKK outfits and angry racists…. Yes, that’s a problem, but not what I’m talking about.
No shame here. You and I didn’t ask for this privilege. This conversation with Ebony Janice, though, wasn’t about shame. It was about joy, humility, and a spirit that cannot and will not be stopped. If you’re even a little curious to know about all of this, I got uncomfortable for you so we could both delve into this. Give a listen.
p.s. Also mentioned in this interview is another visionary Akilah S. Richards of Fare of the Free Child podcast and Raising Free People.
p.p.s. At ~ 29:00 EbonyJanice and I go right to the heart of the matter — though the whole conversation was amazing and full of so much learning.