We Have To Stay In This Courageous Conversation’:
Relationship Therapist Joins CBS3 To Discuss Unrest
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The unrest around the country is prompting friends, families and parents to have some important conversations. Dr. Argie Allen-Wilson, a relationship therapist and the author of “Courageous Conversations Connect,” joined CBS3 to discuss the unrest across the United States.
Many people already felt talking about race was an uncomfortable conversation, but how can we use the current protests across the country as an opportunity to start a dialogue with friends or colleagues of a different race?
“This is a watershed moment for all of us,” Allen-Wilson said. “What I’m saying to people is be honest with our painful history. It’s ours to own. Give permission to speak truth to power. Tell our story of race and racism right, say that black lives matter and that doesn’t mean that all lives matter and people have to build the bridge. If our white brothers and sisters need to have this conversation, we also have to have them honor that they have experienced white privilege and so what we want is allies for the long game, not the short game. When the cameras are gone and we pass through this moment, we want people to stand up, show up, and speak up. That means that we have to have truth, trust and transparency. We can’t quit, we have to stay in this courageous conversation.”
The lack of change in the past is part of the reason the country is still dealing with structural and institutional racism.
“If we don’t stay in the conversation, then it will be like every other time, which is why people are so outraged,” Allen-Wilson said. “And why we are still dealing with the structural and institutional racism. Not just George Floyd, it’s the years and years of pain that have come out of this social injustice and inequity.”
Looting and violence has been drowning out the powerful message being delivered through peaceful protests. Talking with children is important to make sure they understand the difference between protesters and looters.
“We have to create an atmosphere for the children so they can talk through trust,” Allen-Wilson said. “We have to allow them to talk it out so they’re not acting it out and we have to distinguish fact from fiction. There’s a difference between looting and protesting. Protesters are the reason many of us are in the position we are in back during the 60s and civil rights movement. There’s nothing wrong with speaking up against injustice but we have to allow our children to speak their truth to power as well.”
Allen-Wilson says adults should tell children their stories of injustice, but also ask them to tell their stories.
“In order to heal, you have to feel,” Allen-Wilson said. “But you cannot feel what you don’t reveal. And that means we’ve got to deal with all our emotions. So give our children permission to express their emotions and allow them to know that we’re going to be there with them, not only to protect them, but to elevate them.”
WATCH THE VIDEO ABOVE FOR THE FULL INTERVIEW.