We are in the midst of a movement.
We are at a turning point in history.
And it is way past time for white folks, and specifically “woke” white healers, to wake up.
While it’s good and necessary to support this movement externally by protesting, voting, donating, signing petitions, and calling our local city councils, we must also collectively and actively do internal work if we want to effectively serve and support our fellow humans and clients of color.
I’m a life coach and have experienced how those who work in and frequent spirituality, wellness, and healing spaces in America have long been complicit in upholding white supremacy.
To put this into perspective, ask yourself the following:
>> How often have you been in a majority-black healing space? Or seen more than a few black people in wellness audiences or panels?
>> How often are classes focused on white experiences and audiences? Not mentioning the mental or physical health ramifications of systemic racism and oppression (implicitly making whiteness the default for wellness)?
>> How often has race gone entirely unmentioned in wellness spaces or workshops you’ve inhabited?
>> How often has the topic of race been mishandled when it does come up? Leaving people of color feeling harassed, exhausted, misunderstood, isolated, silenced, and enraged.
>> How much training did you receive in your modality about how to specifically handle and heal issues of racial and generational trauma?
>> How often have you balked when someone has brought up race in a wellness setting? Or how often have you felt like it was irrelevant?
>> How often have you or those around you deemed racial topics as “un-spiritual” or “negative,” and refused to engage?
Answer: All the time.
I can’t think of a time in the past seven years that I’ve inhabited wellness spaces when race was handled properly. But, as a white woman, I’ve still felt safe, supported, and seen.
That is white privilege and white supremacy in wellness. And that is oppressive and violent to people of color.
Whether we see it or not. Whether we admit it or not.
If we value diversity and people of color as much as we say we do, then it is clear that the wellness industry must become anti-racist. We must each do our own internal work, bring our new perspective to wellness spaces, and listen to and hire BIPOC (black, Indigenous, people of color) anti-racist educators who are already experts in doing this work.
So here are some online classes taught by BIPOC leaders and educators in wellness to help kickstart the unlearning of our own white supremacy, in wellness and beyond.
Note: This is not an exhaustive list. I’d love to hear what others have found, specific to wellness and spirituality. Also, I am not aware of another list like this, but let me know if I’m mistaken. I do not wish to step on the toes of any BIPOC who may have already compiled something like this.
These two 90-minute, on-demand webinars are “an opportunity to come together to have sacred and spiritual conversation about how we can acknowledge our privilege, heal our race-related wounds and actively contribute to lasting, effective racial justice.”
This five-session, free, on-demand course, led by renowned author Resmaa Menakem, is about healing racialized and generational trauma in the body. There is also a paid Racialized Trauma 101 course available.
Created by an organization with a mission to bridge yoga and social change, this upcoming four-session live class is taught by Michelle Cassandra Johnson—an activist, yoga trainer, and anti-racism educator. It takes place June 22nd to July 1st, and enrollment is now open.
Open to therapists, healers, and life coaches alike, this free one-hour webinar highlights how “cultural competence” and a “social justice lens” continue to fail our clients and uphold oppression. Instead she proposes we work to decolonize therapy and provides crucial steps to begin that journey. She also offers more extensive trainings.
Created by yoga instructor and expert on accessibility in wellness, Nicole Cardoza, these free, daily emails “keep your anti-racism practice persistent and consistent.”
This on-demand course is for people who want to be allies and providers to people of color. Artic is dedicated to broadening common understanding of “trauma-informed care” and decentralizing whiteness as the focal point of healing.
As I’m hearing repeated in these courses and all over the internet: allyship is a verb, not a noun.
If you are white, silent, and not actively working to dismantle racism and white supremacy in yourself, your community, and the world, then the hard truth is that you are part of the problem. We all are. But being well-meaning and passively caring is not enough. That is glaringly obvious now, but has long been the standard position, especially in wellness circles.
As Ricketts says in her Spiritual Activism course, we have a problem with “love and light supremacy” in the “wealth and hellness” industry. Let’s ask better of the wellness world, and contribute to its transformation for the benefit of all of us, and especially our black colleagues, clients, and compatriots.
The time is now—so let’s get started.
Watch an anti-racism hour with Jane Elliott talking with Waylon Lewis of Elephant, here.