Every Tuesday morning, Jeff, a local farmer, drops off nearly thirty dozen eggs on our front porch. Carefully situated orders of anywhere between two and eight dozen eggs line the sides of the porch in plastic bags, each with a name taped to the side.
Throughout the day, our friends from the gym (where the eggs were dropped off, pre-pandemic) stop by and pick up their orders. With everyone paying virtually, the exchange is simple and effortless.
Nearly a year into the pandemic, Marcus, the husband of a woman who orders eggs from Jeff, texted the group asking where their eggs were. Thirty-minutes later, I looked out on my porch and saw his bag of eggs. Confused, I texted back, “Your eggs are on our porch, Marcus.”
“Are you sure? I didn’t see them,” he responded.
“Yep, they’re here… tucked off to the side so the sun doesn’t heat them up.,” I responded.
A couple of hours later, he swung by and picked them up.
Comforts Of Being White
A week later, I received a phone call from Maureen, his wife, and a good friend, explaining what happened…
“Misti,” she said, “my husband is black. He can’t poke around your porch area, looking for eggs. He’s not comfortable looking around on porches—he’s a black man, and has to be careful.”
Having just delivered a virtual talk on allyship a few days before, I really thought I was abundantly aware of the privileges I enjoy because of my white skin. Clearly, I’m clueless…
I never even thought the color of his skin would matter in relation to where I placed the eggs—but it did.
As it turns out, Black and Brown people have to consider many factors before doing a lot of things: going to the grocery store, applying for jobs, driving through a particular part of the country, and… picking up eggs.
Don’t Focus On What You Can’t Do
Sadly, there was nothing I could say that would remove his discomfort or ensure his protection.
What I could do was:
- Put the eggs in a location that offered Marcus the greatest amount of comfort. Or offer to personally drop them off every week.
- Write this blog post, share this story, and increase awareness.
- Dig Deeper—find information about movements and organizations I can join or support to help bring about real change and awareness to racial injustice.
Imagine The Impact Of…
There are things we can do every day to try to make up for these wrongs. We can:
- Educate ourselves, ask questions, and actively seek to understand the challenges of Black and Brown people.
- Provide diversity training to all employees in our organizations.
- Provide Allyship and mentoring training to those team members wanting to serve as mentors or allies to marginalized groups.
- Listen to the stories of people coming from disenfranchised backgrounds, and ask how we can be of support.
The list is endless. The time is now. The question is: What are you doing?
I would love to hear the little (and big) actions you’re taking to make life, progress, and opportunities easier to the groups who need it most.
Here’s to your greatness,
Misti Burmeister has been cultivating communication that results in trust and connection for nearly 20 years, increasing engagement and productivity across generations. Make sure your communication is coming across the way you intend, visit https://www.MistiBurmeister.com