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Do the Work Offline

By Naomi O'Brien


Some people’s failure to take “the work” off of social media and actually apply it to their real lives harms BIPOC. Lying about feeling threatened by a Black person, reporting that you feel uncomfortable because a Black person held you accountable for racism in the workplace, not reflecting daily on how you might be racist and making changes immediately, not holding employees, co-workers, friends and family accountable when you know something is racist, not condemning racism (whether a Black person is present or not) harms us. And here’s the thing, it’s a tale as old as time. I’m tired of it. I’ve spoken with three POCs just in the past two days that have been disciplined at work for speaking up against racism. It’s because of white supremacy and fragility that the discipline even takes place. I’ve been in that position in a workplace too many times. It feels like you just can’t win when the people in power side with the racists because they too, are that level of racist. They don’t see the situation from your perspective because… they can’t. They think about how racism makes them feel uncomfortable to navigate and they make the rules about how much racism and discrimination is allowed in a workplace. It’s like being sexually harassed by a male coworker and then having to report to a male superior about what happened and you just know there’s a 99.9% chance they’re going to excuse the behavior because it’s probably behavior they engage in themselves. You feel helpless. And then, when you handle it yourself, you get in trouble for being “unprofessional” and you’re labeled as emotional or aggressive or always making everything about race.
My BIPOCs, we know this is a marathon and not a sprint. Racial battle fatigue is real. Take care of yourselves. I’m sorry that this is our path, but we’ve got this. Keep fighting. Keep advocating. Keep your head up. Justice delayed is justice denied, but we will always fight for it.





Hi, I'm Naomi

I have been teaching elementary students for over 10 years. Effective reading instruction and accurate social studies at the primary level are huge passions of mine! 

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