By Chris Talbot-Heindl, communications professional and educomics creator

Go back to the infographic via this link


Too often in white-, cisgender-led organizations, stress that marginalized people consistently experience is treated like something they have to therapize or emotionally regulate their way through. Not a symptom of policies and practices that disenfranchise them (which it is). At the same time, any discomfort white and cis people experience is treated as something serious that needs to be addressed rather than signs that they need to learn and grow. This leads to marginalized folks continually having to edit their feedback to avoid huge emotional blow-outs from their co-workers with relative privilege, adding even more to their labor:

First Section

There’s an illustration of me reading a piece of paper. A close-up of the last part of the document is partly cut off, but it is clear it says “JEDI Accomplishments: – Started organization-wide justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion (JEDI) training. – Hired a consultant to help us achieve our JEDI goals. – Completed the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the Workplace Certificate.” Text in a word bubble says “You have got
to be @#$%& kidding me!”

Text below says: Tasked with editing a justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion (JEDI) narrative for a grant for one of my workplaces, I immediately noticed how blatantly my trans, queer, mixed-race self had been used in the previous year’s report. The accomplishments were things I had to fight tooth and nail for, many were highly exaggerated, and the last was something I did myself when my workplace didn’t recognize my 25 years of expertise in the JEDI field. It credited the workplace with that accomplishment although I received no pay or assistance getting that certificate. I was mad at this disrespectful tokenization, but I had to emotionally regulate on my own and wait to talk it through with my teammates before I could even say anything to others because of an agreement I’d made with them weeks before:”

The next few cells are flashbacks to a Zoom call and have a sepia overlay making them seem “old timey.” They are labeled “Flashback.”

In the first cell, a white cis woman says “While we’re talking about psychological safety, it would make me feel safer to know that what I say won’t end up on social media. Even if it doesn’t have my name attached to it, it makes me anxious to think about ending up on your LinkedIn.”

In the next cell, I have a thought bubble which says “It’s my only outlet that makes me feel like I can make a change in the movement!”

In the following cell, I am saying “I hear what you’re saying and I can see how it might be nerve-wracking. We want to build a space where people feel safe to make mistakes and learn. But I need to be able to continue to educate on my LinkedIn. It’s the only way I can continue doing this work.”

In the next cell, the white cis woman says “I hear what you’re saying and I support that work. I know that a lot of people follow you on LinkedIn. Maybe you could bring it to the group first so that it isn’t a surprise when we read it? And make sure not to name anyone or the organization?

In the following cell, I reply “Absolutely! I never name names and I have multiple jobs, so no one knows which one I’m talking about.”

The next cell says “Flashforward. And then I did that. I brought issues to the group to address and posted the lessons on LinkedIn.”

In the following cell, I’m saying “…so the grant narrative totally tokenized me. I know none of you wrote it, but it brought up a lot I’ve dealt with in this org. In the future…” Below me is a screenshot from my LinkedIn post, which says “Today I’m tasked with editing a justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion narrative that went out at one of my workplaces and I’m angry to see how my trans, queer, mixed-race self was used in last year’s. Firstly, all the ‘achievements’ are things I had to fight tooth and… see more.”

The next set of cells are labeled “One week later:”

The white cis woman is saying “So I know you already talked to us about this, but I got really anxious about seeing it written on LinkedIn. It made me worried about our grants. What if that granted found your post? It could give people the wrong idea of our organization.”

In the next cell, I have a thought bubble that says “Ok, but reading what actually happened would mean they got the right idea. Please manage the situation; don’t manage me.”

In the next cell, I say “While I understand why you told me, that anxiety is not mine to hold. I think you. may. need to sit in that discomfort. I’m healing from what happened to me. I shouldn’t also be talked with how you feel about learning of it or repercussions that may come of it. It happened to me. That’s what I’m tasked with dealing with. I followed the process we set forth. If we need to take another look at that, we can. But if there’s nothing material you want me to do other than know you experienced discomfort, that’s not something I need to know.”

In the next cell, a white cis man perks up.

I continue with “The task of navigating other’s anxiety about what happened to me can’t be my responsibility too.”

In the next cell, the white cis man says “Actually, our social media guidelines may prevent you from posting those posts at all.”

In the next cell, I have a word bubble that says “No they don’t. I can’t believe people read the full post and how I feel and this is what they want to discuss.”

In the following cell, I’m angry and saying “Any anxiety that comes with hearing what happened to me is something you need to process on your own, with a therapist, or in a support group. I’m not responsible for those feelings and my equity work can’t be limited by those feelings. We can revisit the process if it’s not working, but I don’t think the solution is that I can’t post things that could improve the conditions marginalized people routinely experience in nonprofits because of fear that it could possibly reflect badly.”

In the next cell, the white cis man’s face is replaced by the Facebook angry react emoji.

In the next cell, there’s a Zoom screen and all the white and cis people have their faces replaced by the Facebook angry react or shocked emojis.

Second Section

Text says “Emotional regulation isn’t the only internal work that a lot of white and cis nonprofit workers in white-, cis-led organizations aren’t expected to do. They also often aren’t expected to show up to work with a whole lot of cultural competency or even a drive to learn better to do better:”

A white cis woman is saying “I tried doing the JEDI module that we were supposed to talk through today, but it was long! I spent my whole day two days ago doing it but didn’t get all the way through. I had important work to do.”

In the next cell, a thought bubble behind me says “Mm-kay. But you had the training for two months, so what were you doing all those other days?”

In the following cell, I say “Well participate as much as you can from what you were able to get through and hopefully you can work through the rest of the module after this group review.”

In the following cell, she replies “Great! Because you know, sense of urgency and perfectionism are white supremacy characteristics! I learned that!”

In the following cell, I’m angry. The thought bubble by my head says “OMG! That’s not what those characteristics mean at all, you weren’t rushed, and why am I still here?

Text says “When you aren’t required to have any cultural competency at work, and you don’t take it upon yourself to learn, it becomes the perpetual work of your marginalized colleagues to emotionally regulate and teach. You should want to be culturally competent and not harm marginalized people you come into contact with as a person, never mind as a coworker. Do your work — on your own, more than is required of you at work, and at a faster pace. You learned other adult skills like how to do your taxes when you needed to; treat JEDI work as the necessary skillset it is.”

Third Section

In this next section, text says “The feelings of white, cis, abled people in organizations like these where their feelings are centered above all else often stop all progress in an organization when it starts its justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion work. Here’s an even more blatant real world example:”

In the next cell, I’m saying “I understand that the sticker price may be jarring, but it is within the standard percent of the budget for organizations that do successful JEDI work. If we say we’re committed, we need to financially commit too.”

In the next cell, a white cis man is thinking. He says “I just want you to understand where I’m coming from. I’m triggered by large sums of money in the budget because of the layoffs that happened 12 years ago. That’s all. I’m not against JEDI training. Just that budget amount. Can’t we just learn internally?”

The next session has a larger illustration of me, facing the reader wearing a “Decolonize Your Mind” hoodie, and with one hand up like I’m explaining something. Text says: “Look, I’m going to break the fourth wall and just tell you something. Because I don’t want to show you how I swallowed the harm in this case and assured him instead of addressing what he said. Because I wish I hadn’t. I wish I had told him what I’m going to tell you: go to therapy.

“Go to therapy, go to support groups, start an accountability group with your white colleagues. Do what you need to do to heal from whatever is causing you to completely stymie progress because you’re scared. If you are truly triggered (as in, experiencing intense emotional distress that reminds you of a past traumatic experience; this is not the word if you’re just uncomfortable), seek the help you need to heal. Being triggered isn’t an excuse to harm your colleagues indefinitely or send hostile messages or trauma dumps to them (a common way that people weaponize their feelings when they need to be regulating them). It’s a sign you need to do your healing work.

“Find a therapist today at You can search based on your needs, insurance, and preferences.

“For us Queer BIPOC folks, check out the National Queer and Trans Therapists of Color:”

There are screenshots of the Psychology Today Find a Therapist page and the National Queer and Trans Therapists of Color Network.


Text says “Your marginalized colleagues are already navigating an organization that was not made with them in mind. They don’t need to be navigating your hurt feelings or anxieties as well.

“That’s your job. If you needed to learn Excel to do your job, you’d do that without question. Use that same energy if you need to learn to emotionally regulate, do your own JEDI work (outside of work and beyond the occasional required training), and especially do your own healing. Because while your marginalized colleagues can’t therapize their way out of systemic -isms in your organization, you can heal and learn techniques to manage your trauma or pain so you don’t compound that harm.

“Don’t halt all process because a change that will improve the equity in your organization makes you afraid. If you truly have trauma around it, seek out a therapist. If you don’t, learn to sit in discomfort (And stop using serious language like “trigger” to describe things that are merely uncomfortable).

“*All illustrations of people, besides me, are far from the actual appearance of the people involved. Any physical likeness to any actual people you know and work with is purely coincidental.”

Chris Talbot-Heindl

Chris Talbot-Heindl

Chris Talbot-Heindl (they/them) is a queer, trans nonbinary, triracial artist and nonprofit employee. When they aren’t working the day job, they spend their free time editing art and literature magazines, writing and illustrating educomics to help folks affirm their nonbinary pals, creating a graphic novel to describe what it’s like to be nonbinary in a gender binary world, cuddling their cat, and quad skating in the park. You can find Chris at, on LinkedIn, and Twitter — and tip them on Venmo or PayPal or join as a patron on their Patreon