The act is meant to convey acceptance and approval while maintaining moral integrity, but actually conveys white racial anxiety. Over-smiling allows us to mask an anti-blackness that is foundational to our very existence as white. A fleeting benevolence, of course, has no relation to how black people are actually undermined in white spaces. Black friends have often told me that they prefer open hostility to niceness. They understand open hostility and can protect themselves as needed.
But the deception of niceness adds a confusing layer that makes it difficult for people of color to decipher trustworthy allyship from disingenuous white liberalism. Gaslighting ensues. The default of the current system is the reproduction of racial inequality.
THE PROBLEM OF PAIN
To continue reproducing racial inequality, the system only needs for white people to be really nice and carry on — to smile at people of color, to go to lunch with them on occasion. To be clear, being nice is generally a better policy than being mean. But niceness does not bring racism to the table and will not keep it on the table when so many of us who are white want it off. Niceness does not break with white solidarity and white silence. In fact, naming racism is often seen as not nice, triggering white fragility.
We can begin by acknowledging ourselves as racial beings with a particular and limited perspective on race. We can attempt to understand the racial realities of people of color through authentic interaction rather than through the media or through unequal relationships. We can insist that racism be discussed in our workplaces and a professed commitment to racial equity be demonstrated by actual outcomes.
We can get involved in organizations working for racial justice. These efforts require that we continually challenge our own socialization and investments in racism and put what we profess to value into the actual practice of our lives. Hope that the future you place in His hands will be better than the present you hold in your own. There is always hope with Jesus Christ. An Act of Hope O my God, relying on Your almighty power and infinite mercy and promises, I hope to obtain pardon of my sins, the help of Your grace and life everlasting, through the merits of Jesus Christ, my Lord and Redeemer.
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College Life College Life is a simple online series-based solution to the problem of keeping students connected to their Catholic faith in college. With practice, mindfulness can help both adults and children cope with stress and anxiety, and it has been shown to have positive effects on both physical and mental health. Many students I work with enjoy mindfulness through journaling. However, as much as they may like to write and express themselves, many have much difficulty getting started. Several years ago a colleague and I were inspired to take a journaling class taught by local journaling expert Barbara Stahura.
What I did not know, and was excited to learn, was that this tool could provide a certain emotional, physical, and mental release. I personally use it and continue to develop on this tool in my own practice of mindfulness. Journaling has become a very big part of my own self-care. I am also able to teach it to students and adults that I get to serve in the capacity of supports provided through Youth First. I have found so many different ways to tap into gratitude through journaling. Within the last year, I was provided a profound and simple suggestion I want to share with you that was a game-changer in the way I look at my gratitude list today.
That one-liner prompt written at the top of the page with some willingness to shut off any possible distraction can provide an oasis of positivity that is the best dose of goodness one can give themselves.
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I encourage you to try this for yourself! All it really takes is some willingness, honest reflection and open-mindedness to go within yourself about what happened in the course of the day that simply made you smile.
I would also like to encourage a suggested technique to test just how good this business of mindfulness is and to pre-measure feelings before doing the journaling activity, or any mindfulness activity for that matter. List a few feelings you are experiencing. The next step is to post-measure your feelings after doing the activity. List a few feelings you are experiencing immediately afterward.
Often there is a shift that takes place within the way one feels and many will share feeling more relaxed, calmer, and happier. The results are undeniable and very encouraging. Gratitude does have a contagious element to it and could be just the key to establishing that dose of mindfulness needed. Go grab a pen see what happens for you! When I first began working as a Youth First Social Worker at an elementary school in , I noticed the children enjoyed being welcomed by a stuffed animal cat in the mornings to promote a great start to their day.
I have always kept various stuffed animals in my office to encourage kids and families to feel more comfortable talking to me. Over the years, I have purchased stuffed animals that resemble wild and domestic cats. However, the favorite cat of the majority of the children and adults at school is a big stuffed tiger. At times I have even been asked by students if I would allow the stuffed animal tiger to visit their classroom for the entire day.
As a result, I am not surprised by the following statement from Rose M. My real pet cat Jazzy and I became registered as an animal-assisted therapy team through Pet Partners in According to Pet Partners, there are only registered cat-assisted therapy teams in the US. My thoughts were that Jazzy could possibly reduce anxiety and anger issues that some of the students were experiencing at the time. First, I contacted the parents of the children that I felt would benefit from this form of intervention and gained their approval to use this technique.
I was able to bring Jazzy to school on two occasions. The students whose parents approved the animal-assisted therapy were really excited about visiting with Jazzy and were able to discuss some difficult experiences that they had incurred throughout their lives. One of the rules of being a registered assisted therapy team through Pet Partners is that the animal has to be bathed prior to each visit.
Unfortunately, however, the decision was made to no longer allow Jazzy in the school setting due to individual allergy issues. This program allows children to read books to Jazzy. The families and the staff at Red Bank Library enjoy visiting with Jazzy. The children who attend the program are motivated to read a book as a way to spend time with Jazzy, who also enjoys being brushed, petted, and given treats.
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Even though there are many different people who visit with Jazzy on a regular basis, she has been able to completely bond with three individuals since the Paws and Tales program was started. Jazzy shows this high comfort level by purring very loudly for these individuals.
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