Breaking the Silence: 6 Ways Introverts can Help in the Fight Against Racism
Introversion may be one of the reasons that there is a deafening silence when it comes to speaking out about George Floyd and other racial atrocities. The thought crossed my mind when I had some offline conversations that yielded confessions that people were fighting an internal battle between their core introverted identities and leveraging their voices to speak out against injustice. They were coming to terms with what felt right to them with a willingness to do what they felt they could influence without a spotlight. It was helpful to have some of these conversations because I was able to provide additional education to support conversations that would undoubtedly rise when silent voices become loud.
The other thought that occurs to me is that people are battling what they have been taught and that it takes time to unlearn what is deeply rooted. It's not just going to happen overnight. It' s a journey.
At my core, I'm an introvert, which causes me to go inward to think and get my thoughts together before taking a stance. Today, I want to share some strategies I believe will be useful for those who are introverts and want to show their solidarity for racial injustice.
FIND YOUR FLOCK
If you find that in general you struggle to use your voice in a public setting, you can seek out a Toastmasters Meeting and raise your hand for Table Topics. You will be pushed past your comfort zone (because of not knowing what to expect). Having spent ten years in the Toastmasters community, I know that their methods work. They work to build confidence and give you strategies for speaking your truth boldly. The best part is that you don't have to be a member to do a table topic (extemporaneous speaking) so feel free to give that a test run.
They say birds of a feather flock together. Find people who are introverts but speaking out (showing support) against racial injustice. Seek their guidance in how you too can show up and let your voice be heard. Share your thoughts and seek their feedback.
Dip your feet in the water. Reach out to individuals you have a relationship with. Be vulnerable and let them know where you stand. Staying silent is not the right thing to do. The Black Community wants to feel seen, heard, and supported. If you're a supporter, speak up lest you be assumed to be a non-supporter.
LEARN! LEARN! LEARN!
Consume data that provides strategies for speaking up when you're an introvert. Read articles, listen to webinars, podcasts, and anywhere else that you can get data to help you articulate your voice. Perhaps it's time to grab some popcorn and watch Susan Cain's TED Talk on The Power of Introverts.
ACCEPT THE CHALLENGE TO DO MORE
Find your way to support. Accept challenges that you can do more. Get curious and find creative ways you can provide support in this fight against racial inequality. Have you considered taking a photo and sharing it to show your support? Recently, there was #blackoutTuesday. You can google that hashtag to get some ideas based on what was shared. While you're doing that, you can also learn the meaning behind the #blackoutTuesday hashtag. Sharing a black square socially can be a small way to show your support.
Listen to my message about silence and what it implies. Do not hide behind introversion. This means don't use that as an excuse to be complicit. Do not use the excuse of I don't know how to help OR I don't know what to say. Again, this requires some proactive work on your part to finding how you want to show up and support.
Now that you've gotten some ideas as to what you can do to help in the fight against racism, start small. Figure out what actions you plan to commit to and follow through taking. Make a plan, track your progress, and get an accountability partner to set yourself for success.
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Simone E. Morris is an Inclusion Strategist. Simone shares her message across various platforms, for example, Forbes, Medium, Thrive Global, Glassdoor, Leadercast, SmartRecruiters, Social Hire, Diversity Best Practices, Profiles in Diversity Journal, and BambooHR.