From the Artist

If you run over someone’s foot with your car, it’s ridiculous to say, “I didn’t mean to do that! I’m a good driver. ”

But when we hurt someone with our words or actions, we do just that. We focus on our intentions and what good people we are. This is especially true when we say or do something that seems racist. This visual illustrates that the impact is the same regardless of your intentions. When we focus on our intentions, it’s about us, not the person we hurt or impacted. When we unintentionally hurt others, we often apologize by explaining our intentions and our values as a person…not focusing on the impact. That doesn’t minimize the impact our words or actions had on that person. 

The Meaning to Me

I love Derald Wing Sue’s quote: “Committing blunders is okay if we learn from them. When you commit a racial blunder, it’s how you recover, not how you cover up.”

Focusing on intentions is covering up. Focusing on impact is a step to recovering from situations that we all experience and will continue to find ourselves in. Recovery begins with focusing on our impact, not our intentions.