Systems Centered Language

Meag-gan O'Reilly, Ph.D.
9 min readJun 5, 2020

Speaking Truth to Power during COVID-19 to confront racism.

Emerging Rage

As a Black woman and typically the token in the space, the role of facilitating professional Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) trainings typically falls to me. For the first time in my life, I am a participant in the space. My learning from the seats instead of the stage has been profound. As a participant under the tutelage of another Black woman, I am uncovering my own internalized oppression, fragility, and ingrained white supremacy values. The most illuminating part thus far has been my anger. A feeling that I tell my clients is natural and yields deep learning, yet for myself, is stunted for fear of validating the “angry Black woman stereotype” and suffering the social and professional consequences. Nevertheless, for the past few months on Wednesdays from 12:30–1:30 I have become a very angry Black woman! I am experiencing first-hand how necessary anger is.

I am angry at the continual dismissal of the humanity of Black people.

I am angry at the energy and fervor put into maintaining the interlocking systems that oppress us.

I am angry at the brutality of capitalism that is still thriving off our backs.

I am angry that things have not changed.