The roots of racial injustice in the United States precede its formation as a nation and continue to send up shoots that bear toxic fruit. Leadership and followership are intrinsic both to the continuation of this condition and to its resolution. The brutality of 250 years of legalized enslavement resulted in generations of children forcefully fathered by white enslavers and their black “property” and disowned by the masters and their white families and communities. The current popularity of genealogy has ripped off the social masks of denial and documented significant numbers of “white” and “black” families who clearly share the same ancestry. This has presented a new challenge and opportunity for truth-telling, reconciliation, healing, and repairing the social injustice engendered by structural racism. This chapter explores the work of a group committed to this process. Through this lens, it examines the work required of all members of societies in which there are structurally advantaged and disadvantaged groups. The requirement is to step beyond the roles of perpetrator, victim, or passive bystander, into the roles of courageous follower and inclusive leader, in mutual service to personal and societal transformation.
I wish to thank my colleagues at Coming to the Table: Jodi Geddes, the President; Tom DeWolf, the Executive Director; and Dr Judith James, the Co-facilitator of Northern Shenandoah Valley chapter.
Chaleff, I. (2019), "Leading and Following for Transformation in a Racialized Society", Peace, Reconciliation and Social Justice Leadership in the 21st Century (Building Leadership Bridges, Vol. 8), Emerald Publishing Limited, pp. 11-22. https://doi.org/10.1108/S2058-880120190000008001Download as .RIS
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