I decided that instead of long dissertations on what I am thinking about on social media I will put it in my blog, that is after all what a blog is all about! I have been trying to figure out how to best weave my yoga, craft beauty and my anti-racism work together for a very long time and nothing seems to be the right answer, and so I will just start. That is all I can do.
I am not expecting anyone to read my blog posts but I hope some people do. I want to write to evoke emotions, I want people to think about things seriously, and to consider multiple perspectives and just sit with it, even if it goes against everything you think of yourself and our world. I am asking your to just sit with the possibility that I might have a piece of information that you could learn from... and vice versa, I promise to listen.
A few years ago -as I will tell you about below and in future posts- I made a pact with myself to listen more. I surround myself with super intelligent people in life and online, people who know so much about their field of interest it would blow your mind. How could I not listen to them... and ask questions of course! And so my commitment to listen and learn has completely changed the way I live my life and the impact I wish to have on society.
Over time I will be revamping my website to include resources that I rely on, from books to websites to social media pages and people I follow. I would also love to hear from you, and have you share stories, resources and your ideas with me. We are after all, in this together.
So here is my first piece, I am jumping in the deep end, this is when the shit gets real.
Published in 1989, I was introduced to this list in the late 1990's that's when I started to realize that the idea of dismantling systems already in place was an overwhelmingly large task for other people to figure out. I sort of understood what it meant to have white privilegde but lacked the emotional maturity to actually own it, it didn't seem applicable to me at the time I lived in a small all white town, the few POC where "honorary white people" and so I figured it didn't affect them either, and so I wielded my ultimate privilege to forget about it, bury my head in the sand and move on.
Fast forward to 2002 I was reintroduced to this article and was immediately saddened of it's continued existence after so many years, I thought, hadn't the author figured it out this shit doesn't exist. I now lived in a multicultural city, my neighbours where of all ethnicities and religions, super friendly and welcoming to me and so I ignored the possibility that my very existence was an oppressive cloud looming over them; after all I frequented their business, ate meals they proudly presented to me, I lived among "them" so really this could not apply to me. And so again I closed the door on doing anything about my rank in the societal hierarchy...
2013, I've moved from my multicultural hood to a mostly white upper class community, again the article pops up on my radar I sit in a group of white people, we discuss it, we intellectualize it, we all feel like we moved mountains talking about it and we all move on...
2015 Donald Trump is running for President of the US, the myth of meritocracy is annihilated, the western world is poked and awoke and slowly people's heads start to pop out of the sand -not many at first- throngs of people burry deeper with realization their privilege is not long for this world, they double down and start fighting back; MAGA is born.
I lose my shit when DT is elected, I am surprised, why am i surprised? I feel stupid that I allowed this to happen, I FINALLY start doing some work... 2017 I am called out on social media for being racist... I crumble... I get back up and continue. I find WOC who are leading the charge in offering anti-racism work for WP, I am repeatedly told that me (as a white woman) am the most dangerous person in upholding the system of white supremacy... GULP. I want to fight it, argue it, but deep down I know it's true. I continue to listen to these WOC labouring emotionally for MY benefit. I start to do the work.
2018, I finally unpack my backpack online for all to see, looking at every piece carefully under a microscope, under the critical eye of hundreds of POC. I am horrified at what comes up.
I carry on.
I am hyperaware of what it means to be me; a white, cis gendered, hetero, wealthy, able bodied woman in the world, often to the point of paralysis, I fear making a wrong move, but I can't bury my head or close my eyes, what I've seen can not be unseen, what I've learned can not be ignored any longer. I now have the emotional maturity and agility to do what I have put off for so long, what I have ignored and denied.
30 years after it's published I am finally owning my white privilege and more.
You should too.
"I was taught to recognize racism only in individual acts of meanness by members of my group, never in invisible systems conferring unsought racial dominance on my group from birth."
Unpacking Your White Privilege - Peggy McIntosh