Last fall, I took part in a thoroughly underwhelming workshop on racial equity*. Anyone who walked into that room hoping to learn strategies for improving equality in their community walked away very, very disappointed. Basically the message was, “Live with it. There’s nothing you can do.”
Well, almost nothing. As a throwaway—an afterthought, honestly—one of the presenters admitted that there is ONE thing you can do: say “hello” to everyone. The stranger in the elevator. The co-worker who’s never given you a second look. The homeless woman outside the grocery store. Everyone. And mean it. Make them feel seen, make them feel welcome.
I don’t believe that’s the only tool we have. I can’t believe that. But it’s a start. And it’s certainly easy to do—even easier than wearing a mask, which should be a no-brainer, but apparently….
So, until a better strategy comes along, I’ll say “hello” to everyone, even if you’ve chosen to go maskless for some reason. And you’re welcome to say “hello” to me. Or “hey”. Or “hola”. Or even “‘sup”.
Actually, I’m gonna draw a line at “‘sup”.
*I’m not going to name the group here, but I will say that their organization has an awfully ironic name for one that claims to fight for racial equity. If you’re organizing something for your workplace or community and want to know, email me. I’m happy to share.