Here’s What Really Needs to Change

Am I the only one feeling this way?

Yes, the protests—peaceful or not—have led to incredible changes. Companies are hiring more blacks. Communities are implementing radical police reforms. The shares in black-owned businesses are soaring.

But to create true and lasting equality, we must look beyond the external. To change the collective, we need to transform the individual.

I say this from experience.

I came of age during Women’s Lib. Enraged by rampant discrimination, we took to the streets, burning our bras, demanding gender equality. And lo and behold, the workplace opened its doors, albeit a crack. The banks gave us credit cards without requiring a man’s signature.

But where we are, some fifty years later? Far from full equality in pay or position. Far from eradicating misogyny or gender bias.

I can hear some of you gasp: how dare I compare the black experience with women’s history. But the underlying dynamics of discrimination and oppression are the same.

Whether sold as slaves or burned at the stake, each of us must heal the cumulative trauma and shame we’ve suffered for centuries. No matter how many new opportunities now await, we can only go as far as our own indoctrinated beliefs and distorted self-image will allow.

“Seek not to change the world,” A Course in Miracles insists, “but change your mind about the world.”

Unless we change our thinking, rewiring our brain, we can’t possibly act differently and nothing will change. Or as one woman wrote to me: “We all contribute (or contaminate) from our own level of consciousness.”

It all boils down to this. Unless we love and respect ourselves, we can’t possibly expect that from others. What change can you make in your thinking to help bring about the change the world so desperately needs? Leave me a comment below.


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Comments & Feedback

  • Billye

    Yes Barbara, how dare you! As a long-time Barbara fan. I own most of your books and have read “Overcoming Underearning” many times over. I have also shared your books with many women. As a business woman. As a woman who also came of age during Women’s Lib. As an African American woman and mother with two African American daughters now in the work force – How Dare You! Maybe you should have listened a little closer to those gasp.

    • barbara huson

      Thank you so much for responding here, Billye. I genuinely want to know what I missed. What would those gasps tell me??? What am I missing when I say that if we want full equality, we must focus not just on external changes, but on shifting our individual mindsets, on rewiring the embedded neuropathways that have been programmed by lifetimes of mistreatment and toxic messages. Please tell me…I need to hear what you have to say.

  • Shavon

    With grace and love, I can release the teachers that are no longer serving as guides. I can hold a standard for the folks that I follow to see me and my body and my spirit in their full humanity and divinity.

    So I will participate in this change you have called us to by unsubscribing. I am putting this love and respect you are asking us to have for ourselves into practice.

    The last couple of messages have missed the mark for me. There’s so much to unpack, but I’m not taking on anyone else’s learning or doing or experiencing.

    So I thank you for what I have learned. I wish you and the community well.

    • barbara huson

      Shavon, Please tell me how I missed the mark! Pleeeease. I am asking because I really want to know.

      • Shavon

        Greetings Barbara. I appreciate your response and question. It would be my pleasure to process this with you. I live in the world as a facilitator and consultant. I work with orgs/companies/groups and individuals to explore our individual and collective learning around topics like race and identity. If you are interested, I can share rates and references with you.

        Again, I wish you and this community well.

        • Michelle

          The remark above is absurd! Barbara, I wouldn’t work with anyone who can’t publicly quickly and assertively call out what you were doing to “miss the mark”! That would be more important to me before trying to sell you my services.

          • barbara huson

            Thanks Michelle…I was quite surprised by her response too. But hey, if that’s how she makes her living, I can’t fault her for trying. And I appreciate you’re saying this.

  • Kathleen Frazier

    I stand in support of Billye and Shavon in their sentiments shared above. I too am unsubscribing. As a white woman, in such a position of power, Barbara, you must educate yourself before posting any further racist words. I invite you (and all white folks reading this) to make efforts toward dismantling our own racism. For about a year now, my family and I have been participating in Constructive White Conversations (CWC) meetings. Please check them out – meetings are virtual at this time. The site also has a fantastic resource page on how white people can educate ourselves about internalized and systemic racism and on how to be an ally to Black people. #BlackLivesMatter: http://www.constructivewhiteconversations.org

    This from the CWC website:
    “Constructive White Conversations is a gathering in which those who identify as white can speak freely and openly about race, racism, oppression, isolation, and all related issues.

    Constructive White Conversations is a place for white people who want to understand and dismantle racism, build and maintain white anti-racist community, and explore the nature of white identity.

    ‘I tell sincere white people, ‘Work in conjunction with us—each of us working among our own kind.’ Let sincere white individuals find all other white people they can who feel as they do—and let them form their own all-white groups, to work trying to convert other white people who are thinking and acting so racist. Let sincere whites go and teach non-violence to white people!’ – Malcolm X, The Autobiography of Malcolm X”

    • barbara huson

      Thank you so much for these wonderful resources, Kathleen. I will definitely take time to look at them. I’m so sorry I offended you. I just don’t understand why my belief that to achieve lasting change, we must focus on internal (healing our past trauma, shifting our mindset) as well as external. Can you please tell me why that upset you? I genuinely want to know.

  • Toni Braxton fan for life

    To our African-American sisters above,

    Could you please factually and carefully explain exactly what Barbara wrote that was racist ?

    I personally believe that accusing someone of being racist without being entirely sure that someone is being racist is almost as bad as being racist. It’s really easy to pull out the race card without factually backing it up.

    To be fair to Barbara, society and American corporations teach that all inequality regardless if it’s gender, racial, religion or sexual orientation is the same. I personally believe racism is far worse that gender inequality. You can not quite compare a racially motivated murder to respecting yourself.

    As for respecting myself, I’m doing it by refusing not to take unequal pay. I’ve worked so hard and invested so much in myself and I want to be compensated well for every hour that’s stolen from my personal life.

    • barbara huson

      Thank you so much for your support and your insightful comments. I totally agree, racial discrimination is far more hideous, insidious, and violent than gender equality. I knew that comparison would get pushback, but my point was the importance of engaging in personal transformation as well as generating external changes. Obviously that backfired.

      I really appreciate you commenting here…and I love how fierce you are for your self.

    • Billye

      Toni,

      If you read my post, there is nothing there that accuses Barbara of being a racist. Her writings are insensitive and untimely. It is much like rubbing salt in an open wound. She openly admits that one is more hideous than the other. So why make the comparison. She knew it would cause pain. She did it anyway. And, now she doesn’t know what she missed and wants me to explain it?

      From my experience , as a black woman who has spent 45 years in male dominated careers, engineering and construction, I have found that the worst racism comes from those who do not even know they are racist or insensitive. When you are insensitive you are part of the problem. Much akin to telling racist jokes.

      Barbara does a great service to all women but she did a great disservice to all African-American. Even those who vehemently defend her.

  • Sharon L

    I personally think Barbara missed the point. Do I believe she’s racist..of course not. This piece was written as a Caucasian woman who believes it will get better by changing our thinking. I understand that is pivotal, but Barbara it is so much deeper than that. This is systemic and internalized racism that we as people of color have seen all our lives. Conversations are great., but right now it would probably be better for you to listen and get an understanding instead of writing about it.

  • Kathleen Frazier

    Toni Braxton, STOP making demands on Black people to explain white people’s racism. This from Alanah Nichole, “Unless you’ve hired the Black person you’re asking to do so, we shouldn’t be consulting you, your family, friends or our co-workers on what the next steps should be in your personal or professional lives to have accountability for race-related issues or to start your anti-racism work.” (https://technical.ly/baltimore/2020/06/04/alanah-nichole-anti-racism-baltimore-social-media-shops-resources/)

    And here is a link to an interview with “White Fragility” author, Robin DiAngelo if you are truly interested in finding out more about Barbara’s racist remarks and your own: https://www.cnn.com/2020/06/07/health/white-fragility-robin-diangelo-wellness/index.html

  • Kathleen Frazier

    Actually, I should have addressed my last comment to both Barbara and Toni – please excuse me on that.

  • Toni

    Kathleen,

    Please don’t ever accuse me or make any assumptions about anyone being racist. You do not know me and calling someone racist who is not being racist is almost as bad as being racist yourself.

    I believe Barbara is not a racist. She has promoted books written by African American authors. Her article was a little bit ignorant and insensitive , but not racist.

    I forgive you, because you don’t know how to articulately point out exactly what it is that’s bothering you about this article. For falsely calling me a racist, I do not wish to participate in this conversation with you any further. In fact, I think that’s called “reverse racism “.

  • Toni

    Billye,

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this with me. I never look back on old comments. For some reason, I had an inkling to do so. I’m so glad I did.

    Firstly, I want to apologize to you if any of my comments offended you. You didn’t accuse Barbara of being a racist , but someone else here did. You’re right, there is something that came across as insensitive and untimely about what Barbara wrote. I cringed a little bit when I first read it. I don’t think I would personally make the comparison if I knew it would deeply offend the African American community or use something tragic to promote a product.

    I believe the current protests reminded her of a time when she was protesting for gender equality. Until now, I don’t think anyone has protested this seriously since then. I am so glad women before me took a stand. Being the freedom loving lady that I am , I would not want to ask my grumpy father, my immature brother or my husband for a credit card! That would feel so infantile to me! My mother came from this movement and taught me so much about money when my father was afraid to go there, so I know she would be happy about me reading Barbara’s topics about women and money.

    As for the racial motivated murder, I am so glad people are outraged and not passively letting this go either, especially during Covid19. I have a friend who has an innocent, sweet 6 year old African American son. The though that someone , still in year 2020 might want to hurt or kill him based on being a bit browner makes me feel physically sick. I hope all the protests will make a better world for him. I hope it draws attention to how they’re thinking and acting , regardless if it’s racial ignorance or a direct racial attack.

    Wishing you lots of prosperity

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Meet Barbara Huson

When a devastating financial crisis rocked her world, Barbara Huson knew she had to get smart about money… and she did. Now, she wants to empower every women to take charge of their money and take charge of their lives! She’s doing just that with her best-selling books, life changing retreats and private financial coaching.

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