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Boldness. Being bold. Being fearless

noun. willingness to take risks and act innovatively; confidence or courage; the quality of having a strong, vivid, or clear appearance. 
Boldness is the opposite of fearfulness. To be bold implies a willingness to get things done despite risks. Boldness may be a property that only certain individuals are able to display.

 

How willing are we to take risks? How confident are we to act innovatively? How courageous are we to stand out? How bold are we to face our fear of failing?

Boldness. Being bold. Being fearless.

I read an article recently with 13 tips on how to be bold and live a fearless life, most of which is my default setting for who I am and how I live:

  1. Be authentic, scared and vulnerable.
  2. Learn from failure.
  3. Challenge convention.
  4. Connect with others.
  5. Speak up.
  6. Take action.
  7. Do what it takes. 
  8. Ask for help.
  9. Learn to trust yourself.
  10. Learn new skills.
  11. Shrink your fear.
  12. Expect the best.
  13. Don’t give up.

So today I am going to be bold and share the shame I am feeling.

For the last 11 weeks I have regularly said to close friends and family that I feel a deep shame in being English right now, I am embarrassed by the mess that our country is in, I am ashamed of the state of our government. The response I normally get is something along the lines of “it could be worse, you could be American”, as if it is reassuring that another country has screwed up more than we have.

For the last week, I have also been feeling ashamed of being white. I feel shame when I see what is happening in America, how black people are being treated by white people. I feel shame and sorrow when I see my diverse PLN sharing their pain on social media. I have been deeply affected by posts by mothers I know of black and brown boys, who have shared their angst about bringing up their sons in an unsafe world. In a world where life is not sacred, where the colour of your skin determines your value.

I feel shame that in filtering out the media to reduce the Covid-19 scaremongering that I have also filtered out the news about peaceful protests, riots and celebration of life.

I wrote an article early on in lockdown about the world needing values to see us through the social isolation. I had hope and optimism that this period of time was going to be an awakening, we were going to reset and return to factory settings as human beings. But now I fear the ugly side of humanity that is surfacing, whilst the world sits and watches it unravel on the news.

It is inescapable. On every media platform I am witnessing human suffering. In every social media feed I am absorbing second-hand the pain being shared. Many of my BAME friends and colleagues are speaking out publicly – for some, for the first time. They are sharing what their children are asking them and the fears they are sharing in the safety of their home about how they feel in our society. BAME children feel unsafe seeing how BAME adults are being treated.

What message are we sending children in our schools about the value of their lives? 

If fear is the enemy of boldness, then we need to be bold and stand up to it. We being white people. We being those with power and privilege. Fear of failure, fear of judgement, fear of criticism, fear of repercussions are holding us back. We may not have ALL of the answers nor the solutions, but we can show union and solidarity. We can see, we can listen, we can learn, we can support, we can challenge and we can change.

White people need to listen to the fear and suffering of our BAME colleagues, we need to be bold, we need to stand up and we need ti be counted. We need to provide a human shield to protect others from further suffering. We need to be united in fighting this, together in solidarity.

White women in Louisville line up to protect Black protesters

If we remain quiet we are complicit. If we DM our BAME colleagues rather than tweet out that #BlackLivesMatter, then we are part of the problem. If we refuse to acknowledge that we have a big problem in society to tackle, we will be enabling more loss of lives.

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How willing are we to take risks? How confident are we to act innovatively? How courageous are we to stand out? How bold are we to face our fear of failing?

We need to take a risk and raise our heads above the parapet. We need to be confident in what is right. We need to be courageous to challenge what is wrong. We need to be bold and face getting it wrong. We need to be bold and not fear failure.

The reality is that there are bigger risks and bigger fears if we do nothing, if we stay silent.

I saw this on LinkedIn and it made me reflect on all of the socially acceptable microaggressions that we need to challenge.

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So to parallel the 13 tips on being bold at the start of the blog, here are 13 things we can read/ watch/ listen/ share, to raise awareness and encourage us all to be bold and stand up to racism:

  1. Please read this thread from my friend Angie Browne on being a Mother of a brown boy.
  2. Please read this tweet from Aisha Thomas on the question her son asked her.
  3. Please consider Alison Kriel’s suggestion of adding #Ubuntu to your social media profile to show solidarity.
  4. Please visit Pran Patel‘s blog who shared multiple perspectives on racism, privilege and power.
  5. Please read this letter from Marsha Ramroop.
  6. Please check out these anti-racist resources for white people.
  7. Please read and share this guidance from BAMEed on access guidance for BAME colleagues returning to work.
  8. Please sign this petition from BAME Leadership demanding a race equality strategy for Covid-19.
  9. Please visit I Am Here, We See You,  a project around positive representation founded by Nadine Bernard. Please also follow on Instagram.
  10. Please watch this video from Nike.
  11. Please watch this video from my friend Angie Browne here.
  12. Please join Yasmin Sidwa and Mandala Theatre live on Facebook at 11am on Wednesday in discussion about speaking out and not remaining silent in times where we see injustice.
  13. Please read this advice from BAMEed penned by Dr Muna Abdi on being an ally:

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Some quotes on being bold to conclude to empower us all to find and use our voice, to  empower us to have agency and to empower us to be bold and to become activists in challenging what is wrong and in doing what is right:

“Be bold, take courage… and be strong of soul”. 

Ovid

“If we are bold, love strikes away the chains of fear from our souls”.

Maya Angelou

“In a highly critical, scarcity-based  world, everyone’s afraid to fail.

As long as we’re afraid to fail, we’ll never come up with the big, bold ideas we need to solve these problems”. 

Brene Brown

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