A friend who knows my experience overcoming busyness recently forwarded an email that included this from diversity, equity and inclusion expert Desiree Adaway: “One of the tools of white supremacy is busy-ness. This sense of urgency makes it so we do not connect on a deeper level. It allows no time for discernment, reflection or real repair.”
As a former busyness addict, her words struck deep and yet were new to me – busyness a tool of white supremacy?
I certainly had not considered this before. My mind quickly leapt to the social conditioning of women of all colors – has busyness been a method to keep all women quiet?
Personally, I have a hard time imagining a group of men sitting around a table scheming, “We’ll keep women (Black and White) in their place by keeping them busy.” But, as we all know, historically there has been (and still is) deep oppression of women and people of color. And these groups of humans have historically borne the burden of the backbreaking work needed to keep our societies and economies functioning.
Sound like an implausible connection? As you read this, please keep an open mind. Busyness is insidious, and when it consumes you, it has a massive negative impact on you being a difference-maker and achieving what matters most.
Desiree Adaway goes on to say, “White supremacy knows that when we’re exhausted, we remain obedient. And when we’re overworked, we tend to stay quiet. It rewards us for our silence, for not pushing back, for not questioning.”
I am a White woman who has recovered from a busyness addiction, and I can tell you from first-hand experience that busyness absolutely leads to overwork, exhaustion and silence. I cannot comment on what this is like for women of color, and can only imagine that silence slices like a knife through their soul.
Collectively, we women are a force to be reckoned with. We are deep emotional beings. We have an aptitude for nurturing and healing. We’re listeners, we’re thinkers, we’re caregivers. We do it all for a lot of people and, yes – many women are exhausted, and fearful of more exhaustion returning as our country reopens.
Here are a few questions for you to consider:
- Do you feel resentment when your friends, family, co-workers or staff are not as busy as you are?
- Have you bought into (or been socially conditioned to believe) the cultural narrative of hustle, accomplish, have more, be more, do more, do it all for everyone?
- Does doing “more” serve the collective wholeness of humanity, let alone the wholeness of yourself?
- Are you modeling busyness for others?
With respect to Black Lives Matter and the rising awareness of racial injustice, it’s more important than ever to intently manage your life energy – to make space for unlearning and learning, as well as joy, happiness, sadness, and all the emotions and activities that nurture your soul.
My concern is that Black Lives Matter will wither away if added to a plate that is already overflowing. This important human rights movement is sparking ever-increasing awareness of horrific injustices to BIPOC (Black Indigenous People of Color), and as such, this movement must not wither, it must sustainably grow to have lasting positive change.
Women are a force to be reckoned with, so for the love of humanity, for racial equality, for collective wholeness and for your wholeness, please ask yourself, “What can I do differently to lighten my load so that I can engage in discernment, reflection and real repair?”
Curious how to sustainably grow your life-energy? Click here and learn how mentoring may support you.
P.S. My last post, “’Unlearning’ My White Ways,” includes my Four Stages of Clarity as a framework for an exploration of re-orienting to racial equality – and how to release busyness in your life to grow sustainable energy in support of wholeness. Read it here.