Online Work and Racism
Why it can be hard to find peace and how to do so
I love working online and remotely. It has all kinds of benefits. But one of the big disadvantages of the remote work lifestyle is that racism can follow you into your home.
Invading Your Sanctuary
When you work in an office and you're Black in plain sight every time you are outside, your home is your sanctuary, your oasis, the place where "they" can't get at you. It's often the only place where you can be fully yourself and at peace.
When you work from a home office, you're dealing with racism and microaggressions in your home. If a colleague gaslights you or a stranger Zoom bombs you, it can feel like there's no escape. Rather than home being a place to put it all behind you, you find that it continues to weigh on your mind. Every time you return to your computer or home office, you're back in that situation, and it can seep out into the rest of your home too.
That can also happen if you’re an activist, and the trolls are being particularly active or nasty. You might find that something happens to trigger you and you struggle to let it go. I know a LOT of people have been experiencing that recently.
Is there a solution? I don't know. Most advice about working from home talks of separating work time and space from home time and space. Mostly this works, but good luck doing that in cases of racism. If you're the kind of person who plays situations over and over in your mind, as I am, you'll find it an effort to lift your thoughts out of the mire.
How to Heal
So, what can you actually do to help yourself feel better, and start to heal? Here's what I've tried when it’s happened to me:
Accept that the thoughts will come and try to let them pass through without holding onto them. That's something I've learned from meditation and it often works.
Distract yourself with something else that you love to do that preferably has no association with what you're trying to forget. Reading is always a go-to for me, or sometimes watching a trashy program I'd usually avoid.
Write it out. I don't journal much any more, but I write regularly. Some of that makes it to the newsletter. Some doesn't, and may show up in a later book. But it's also ok if nobody else sees it. The act of writing is healing for me.
If you’re the kind of person who can shout, scream and cry (sadly, I am not) do that if you need to. You’ll definitely feel better after an emotional release. (This is not medical advice, just my observation.)
Talk to someone you trust and work through the feelings. That can also be hugely helpful!
Finally, know within yourself that the immediate pain and angst will pass. You may not forget what happened, but its immediacy will fade and you’ll be able to carry on.
If you have experienced racism remotely, what works to help you heal?
Thanks for reading,
© Sharon Hurley Hall, 2022. All Rights Reserved.