Do you know about Tabata?
Tabata is a form of high intensity interval training that originated in Japan in the research of Dr. Izumi Tabata. The idea is that you work for 20 seconds as hard as you can work, and then take a 10 second break.
In fitness we like it because it gets your heart rate really high with a quick recovery, which is great for your heart. It’s also easily adaptable to all fitness levels—you define what “hard as you can” is for you.
Tabata as a Metaphor for White Fragility
In a little-known genre of fitness called interpretive aerobics (yes, I proudly made that up) Tabata seems like a perfect metaphor for how people (ahem—did you mean white people?) react when faced with conversations about race. These conversations can trigger your natural nervous system reaction of fight, flight, or freeze.
In Tabata that’s your frenetic running in place for 20 seconds, followed by freezing. In white fragility that might be trying to fill the space with intelligent pontification and then stopping and wondering if you’ve said the wrong thing.
Getting Multiple Perspectives
Have you said the wrong thing? How do you know? You really can’t know in isolation. You have to have dialogue to understand another’s perspective. So that’s what I’m doing. (See links below to join in.)
Today (and available ongoing after the show) I’ll be talking with Dr. Marcus Robinson, Executive Director of Collaboraction, Chicago’s Theatre for Social Change and Mikhail Lyubansky, Ph.D. who teaches the Psychology of Race and Ethnicity among other courses at university of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana. We’re talking about definitions and implications of white privilege, supremacy and fragility.
Next Wednesday, Lucky Church and I will be talking about the intersection of race, media and COVID. And on Thursday, Pastors Geno and Shannon Olison will join to share how they are conscientiously creating a multi-racial, multicultural worship community.
Cultural Competence is a Practice
I’m using the term cultural-competence loosely here—it’s about all things Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and Intercultural. As someone who is in an intercultural, interfaith marriage and who works in multicultural marketing and DEI—we are always learning and always growing.
Or I should say, we always CAN be learning and CAN be growing? What practices do you incorporate into your life to learn, grow, expand your ideas and give space to the ideas of others?