There’s a lovely expression that many of us in the Black community use when we want to repair strained relationships with each other; it’s an expression that always moves me when I hear it. Whether the cause of the disagreement is related to something we’ve done (or not done), or something we’ve said (or neglected to say), we approach the person we’ve offended and ask for forgiveness with this request:

“Please charge it to my head and not to my heart."

The intent of this appeal is to ask the other person to forgive us for an unintentional misstep that caused them pain or harm, and to “charge it to” (or “blame it on”) on an error that was out of character, a lapse that was due to our “heads” but doesn’t represent our true “hearts.” At its core, “charge it to my head and not to my heart" is a request for an extension of grace (often from a spouse or significant other, or perhaps a sibling, or a close friend) so that the relationship can move past a challenging obstacle and continue to develop and grow.

But outside of these close, personal interactions, I’ve also found that the “charge it to my head and not to my heart” approach has been a critical resource for me in a very different, unrelated context: in nonprofit boardrooms. Specifically, as a Black man serving on predominantly white nonprofit boards that have undertaken racial equity journeys, my ability to extend grace to my white board colleagues – to “charge it to their heads and not to their hearts” -- has been an essential tool in my efforts to help boards become more intentional about recognizing the connection between racial inequity and their missions. I’d like to share one example of what I mean.

Read the full article about racial inequity by Jim Taylor at BoardSource.