We can’t have peace without social disruption

Have you ever sat next to a teenager while s/he was playing online games? Perhaps you play online games yourself. If so, you have likely noticed it is not uncommon to hear racist slurs in certain gaming contexts. If you are on social media, you’ve probably noticed some of the racist memes about immigrants that are being shared in reaction to terrorism and refugees. If you have visited the Black Lives Matter Facebook page recently, then you’ve seen the racist trolling that is going on in response to their community posts. While many of these people who exhibit these behaviors online might not do these things in person, these are all pretty clear signals that — “We have not arrived.” Pretending that we have is harmful and dishonest.

“Social disruption is the close cousin to cultural transformation.”

Something that I’ve been hearing a lot of lately, and this really concerns me, is people setting up a false dichotomy between social disruption and peace and harmony. Social disruption is the close cousin to cultural transformation. To transform injustice into peace and reconciliation, it takes courage to upset the status quo to identify new pathways, tap into innovations, and open up to different perspectives. Here are some other reasons this dichotomy is misguided:

Only the privileged can experience peace without first confronting injustice

Especially in the wake of what has happened in Ferguson, Baltimore and New York City, it is troubling to hear people who self-identify as “progressive,” suggest that the movements confronting these injustices are what are sowing the seeds of violence. These demonstrations are in reaction to violence. The injustices they are protesting are real and have already created an atmosphere that is antithetical to peace and safety in the lives of many of these protestors and their children. The organizations and groups that are demonstrating and working for social justice are not against peace. On the contrary, many of them are relentlessly and resiliently struggling against the obstacles to peace in their lives and in their communities.

Disruption is necessary for transformation

When I hear the suggestion that these demonstrations are somehow to blame for a rising absence of peace in our society, it unpleasantly reminds me of what it is like to be called “an angry black man,” for simply standing up for yourself or your child. Only the privileged can experience peace without first confronting injustice. To make progress, people who experience privilege must acknowledge that bias and more overt forms of racism are still prevalent in our society. They also must be willing to take up the cause and confront this unfairness. Transformation requires a certain level of tolerance for disruption.

Our campaign to support educators

At Jelani Consulting, we are working to #BeatUnconciousBias by providing resources to challenge people in meaningful and supportive ways. We work to provide the tools that are needed for people to grow and change. We encourage you to join our efforts and to do the same.

As a society, we can do a better job for teachers by giving access to the tools, training, and support they need to be facilitators of fairness in their classrooms and within their school systems. This will have a direct impact on our society in general. This training is not only offered to educators; we will customize this training for any type of organization and we highly recommend it for every company. We will, however, be offering it for free to pre-K through 12th

educators. By completing the training offered by our Unconscious Bias eLearning Project, teachers will develop greater awareness about their own biases and will learn the practical skills they need to change behavior. You can help!

We have launched a Kickstarter campaign for our Unconscious Bias eLearning project. We need your support to make this campaign a success. Please join us and our supporters — Lenovo, Christopher Kennedy, Hugh Forrest, Sarita Geisel Graphic Design, Urban Co-Lab, and EmPowerment Entertainment. Support our project today to be a facilitator of fairness and #BeatUnconscousBias.

Originally published at Jelani Consulting.