TTIN: If not you... (Email 9)
4 minute read
Note: This is an archive of an email from the May 2020 launch series of The Time Is Now (Early Adopter Edition).
So there they were.
All building together. Tool in one hand, weapon in the other.
Sunup to sundown.
Sweat pouring down their faces all day, every day.
Florian was working when a group approached...
"We need to talk with you. We are starving. Worn out. We need your help."
Florian sat down to listen to them.
"We have no more food. We have given our home, fields, vineyards and every last coin to the nobles and rulers in exchange for food. Now we have nothing left and we have run out of options."
Florian was furious.
To the left were people working hard. To the right were people working hard. There was no room for hierarchy in this new community.
Florian approached the nobles and rulers.
"What you are doing is not good. How can you expect the people you are lording above to labor shoulder to shoulder with you while our enemy is planning to destroy us all? Give it all back. This is not how to be a community. We must take care of one another."
I was reminded of this part of Florian’s story this past October.
I took a pilgrimage through the South and while I was there I met a Black elder named Mr. Carter who grew up in Mississippi in the time of, and nearly the same age as, Emmett Till.
The day I spent with Mr. Carter is still reverberating. While most of that story is for another day, there was a conversation we had that sounds a lot like Florian’s speech.
Towards the end of our time together, I asked Mr. Carter “with all that you’ve seen all of these years, what do you think white people like me are still missing?”
I think of his answer almost every day.
“You’ve forgotten the ones in your community who are most vulnerable to the lies of white supremacy - your poor.”
He went on to share how watching the white community is like watching people who are scrambling away from being on the bottom and who will use the bodies of anyone to help us get away.
He said that particularly in areas outside of the South - we believe ourselves to be above white people who have succumbed to the lies of white supremacy.
“What good do you think you are doing preaching to the choir?”
Mr. Carter was right. Florian was right.
Who is the enemy?
Is it the person below my boot or the one holding the megaphone spewing fear and lies over the rest of us?
How do we expect to tear down the system of white dominance when we spend so much time trying to prove we are above someone else?
Our self-declared liberal bastions have done nothing to effectively change the susceptibility of white people to the lies of white dominance.
I believe there is another way.
Remember I shared with you last week that my biggest fear is being ineffective…
Maybe you can relate.
If so, we’ll have to admit that most of what we are doing isn’t working.
We haven’t been asking the right questions.
We haven’t developed the will or skill to build on ramps for those we’ve left behind or given up on.
The nobles and rulers of the day agreed to Florian’s plea. They gave back everything they had taken and then some. Ultimately, the biggest thing they had to let go of was their superiority.
As white people in 2020, we have a choice to make...
Be the kind of people willing to part with our superiority over Black, Indigenous and brown people but grip it tight when it comes to white people we believe are below us. Or we can,
Be the kind of people who are willing to part with our superiority over anyone. Who live humbly in submission to one another. Collectivism over individualism.
Any weakness within our community to the lies of white dominance is evidence of need. We need to show up in those spaces. Help our people get unstuck.
If not you, then who?
Florian stepped in to build a new kind of community in the midst of crumbled ruins.
We are living in a time of crumbled ruins.
Will you step in, like Florian, to build a new kind of community?
What would it look like to apply the lessons of Florian’s journey to this time we find ourselves in?
I hope you’ll go back and re-read all of these emails and internalize the messages. I believe we will be stronger for it.
Tomorrow (Tue) is the last day to join us if you believe the time is now.
For those of you who have already enrolled. I see you. I can’t wait to work alongside you and begin to build something new.
Tomorrow I’m gonna drop a huge email with a bunch of resources in it...some of the stuff that’s changed me. Made me who I am today.
Until then, love one another.