Climate Voices

A Mindset Shift: Racism's Root Causes Taylor Terry Wordpress E

This month's guest feature is from Dr. Taylor Terry, Life and Business Success Coach for Illume U in Atlanta. A former professor and brand management expert, Dr. Taylor was spurred on to use her gifts to educate and help people heal from the inside out after a series of life situations from which she herself had to heal. Working with people around the country (physically and virtually), Dr. Taylor helps her clients create healthy brains, businesses, and bodies through a variety of modalities. Dr. Taylor loves outdoor sports, hanging by the beach, ziplining, and cooking healthy food.

The Wealth Compound: Shifting Our Mindset

The old political system mindset has impacted racial and climate justice for decades. Some of the fallout has been unintentional yet has proliferated and is reinforced subconsciously. When leadership is intentional about addressing the root cause of injustice, policies and programs can be designed from that space. It is time for a mindset shift into a deeper level of perspective, accountability, and empowerment.

Just as disparities in wealth compound, the effect on disenfranchised groups can resound for centuries, compounding scarcity, lack, and anger on one side and guilt, shame, and resentment on the other. It takes awareness to get to the root cause to understand and dismantle an issue that pits race against race, politician against politician.

Discrimination lives on in patterns that America has never addressed.

These patterns are embedded in all cultures and America gets to shift into a mindset of wholesale accountability to uplift all. Until this mindset is transformed, a shift will be hard to sustain.

A Simple Example: House Paint's Unintentional Ramifications

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Toxic lead paint is removed from a house.

Decades ago paint became an environmental toxin because lead was added to increase durability, resist moisture, and maintain a fresh appearance and color. During that time a lot of blacks lived in drab homes without color, but as blacks moved into colorful homes previously occupied by whites they became exposed to these toxins, and redlining kept them there. This created a reality that reinforced victimization. All involved were rotating around the victim triangle as victims, persecutors, and rescuers at different times.

As blacks became self-empowered and moved up the socioeconomic scale they felt the effects of planned and unplanned racism as they lived in redlined areas or among fumes, dumped tires, chemical spills, or landfills. It was difficult to protect themselves from the daily chemical load. Toxins at home, at work, in the community, and in the food certainly impacts the immune system, made worse by the added emotional trauma. The combination of all these was like a powder keg.

Black Lives Matter Protest, Atlanta, 2020

In these days education may be one ticket to that breaking out of this cycle. Black women are the recipients of more education these days than ever, yet children in our public schools are suffering and could stay in that victim triangle if plans are not made for their futures. According to the White House the black family has thirteen cents for every $1 in wealth held by white families, and CNN states that if current trends persist, it will take upwards of 228 years for blacks to accumulate the same amount of income as whites.

What actions should be taken to close this gap, to help build wealth?

Education helps. Homeownership is critical. Stanford sociologist Jackelyn Hwang looked at Philadelphia and determined that minority communities feel the negative effects of gentrification disproportionately compared to their white counterparts . As whites return to the cities their ancestors left behind, they are welcomed with new green spaces, adaptive reuse of vacant buildings, and toxic waste removal that created new parks and community gardens. Yet the political system seeks to repeal the advances blacks have made. This is where accountability and education can create the ability to self-sustain.

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Downtown Atlanta near The Martin Luther King Jr. Center.

My grandparents lived on a farm and produced their own food for many decades. My grandmother lived to almost 104 years of age, spanning multiple generations, due to fresh air, fresh food, and lots of love. All 25 of her great-great grandchildren would have to ascend in order to see a change in the wealth gap.

Prior to my grandmother's birth, policies were created that would thwart the rights of men and women for centuries to come. The 3/5th compromise, a 1787 agreement between the North and South used to determine taxation and representation, is still energetically alive today when it comes to voting rights. It implies that blacks are 3/5's of a human being. There is a big price to pay for racism and we have never gotten to the root of the issue to reverse it. When we get to the root of the bias, then we can allow the Justice system to work for us all, and understand how to use any movement to advance issues like racial and climate justice.

Clearly Republicans and Democrats alike have been driven by economics as they decided to unite the country with decisions that would impact lives and our planet for centuries. The political system goes into uproar whenever the status quo is challenged. In Georgia, a state with a high level of income inequality , Senate newcomer Rev. Raphael Warnock of Ebenezer Church (Rev. Martin Luther King Jr's historic church) created a ruckus after winning his political race. After his victory, the war to repeal civil rights was heightened. Gentrification accelerated. Racial and climate justice became more topical. If we realized that we are all ONE, we could work on other issues!

Nearly two hundred years after the 3/5 Compromise, Martin Luther King Jr. took on poor housing and education as part of his platform and now a half century later, people are still being treated inequitably.

Raphael Warnock Official Photo

Georgia Senator Reverend Raphael Warnock

If we connect the dots and planned for centuries out what could be accomplished? What would happen if Rev. Warnock could influence accountability and education for all? What if real policy change was put in place and an evaluation of outcomes was provided to enhance results? What if the mindset was explored and real conversations were had, all the way through?

What if knowledge was easily accessible and readily available? The minority community owes it to themselves to make themselves, their politicians, educators, parents, ministers, and corporations accountable. They owe it to themselves to get more information to close the wealth gap. For example: the importance of life insurance policies, brokerage share accounts, tax shelters like businesses and non-profits, or even taxes in general. And what if those prevented from making progress did some forward planning for the political dance that seems intent on removing rights? It's hard to address environmental rights when you're dealing with civil rights, and it's necessary now to step into empowerment and accountability.

Diamonds begin as a lump of coal. They become something precious through heat and pressure. It takes an awareness of what is possible in order to shift something from potentially hazardous into something valuable. It takes a plan to get there.

Action Items:

As a coach and consultant I am intent on solving things at the root for sustainable growth. You might be intentional and:

  • Seek awareness of the issue. Look for the root source instead of just the symptoms.
  • Decide what you want and focus on that.
  • Determine who has the power to help get what you want.
  • Determine the plan, which includes objectives, strategies and tactics.

Action steps that can apply to anyone:

  • Get out of the victim triangle; go to .
  • Read the book Power vs. Force by David Hawkins or Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki to gain more empowerment.
  • Join an organization like Eco-Action whose principal has been involved in this discussion for more than 30 years.