Discomfort, Shame & Awakening
(White Supremacy, Social (In)justice & Me)
OK so never have I been more out of my depth than now when putting “pen” to paper and I have spent the whole week struggling with whether to write anything at all. Maybe I can just hide and it will all go away… Who am I to have an opinion on white supremacy and social justice? It’s not my responsibility that white supremacists exist; I’m not racist or homophobic and it’s the responsibility of “other people” to sort that shit out.
Before last weekend if you’d asked me about racism, sexism or any other type of “ism” that meant that other human beings were deemed to be less worthy than I am, I would’ve told you I was vehemently against it and supported Equal Human Rights. I have called colleagues or friends out on jibes of a homophobic, racist or prejudicial nature, I have 100% supported gay marriage but when it comes down to it, that’s about it. And it’s pretty poor.
After watching Brené Brown’s Facebook Live and reading Layla Saad’s letter at the start of the week, let alone the extensive media coverage since, I feel like I’ve woken up in a new reality that I can no longer ignore and pretend I am not part of. I feel naïve, ashamed and like I’ve been paying lip service to my beliefs as I’ve never really supported them with any action. Real action. So I came to the conclusion that this is precisely why I should speak out, say my piece, acknowledge my responsibility and start to understand, learn and ultimately take action. However I can.
One thing I do know for sure is that I am going to royally fuck this up often, and for that I apologise. I’m sorry if I offend anyone (please believe that’s not my intention) as I know that I lack the right language to properly explain myself and I feel like a kindergartener trying to sit in a board meeting and talk to the grown-ups. But it’s not going to stop me from trying. I can’t be someone that stays silent and just shakes their head from the sidelines anymore.
I am white, I am straight & I am privileged.
I am writing this on my Macbook Air sitting in my favourite coffee shop, drinking a caramel latte and I shall soon go home, make dinner, maybe catch an episode of Suits and then toddle off to bed.
Today nobody marched against my existence.
Today nobody called me cruel names just because of who I love.
Today nobody refused to hire me because of the colour of my skin.
Today nobody told me that I couldn’t be, do or say anything I wanted just because of who I am.
Today and every day I have it easy, I am privileged and never more have I felt Layla’s words:
“YOU DID NOT CREATE WHITE SUPREMACY. BUT YOU BENEFIT FROM IT EVERY DAY BECAUSE OF THE WHITE SKIN YOU WERE BORN IN.”
I am not saying that just because you or I are white that life is easy. Not at all. Everyone experiences traumas, life’s ups and downs and I know some friends and colleagues that have had some seriously tough times in their lives. But here’s the thing: people of colour, people in the LGBTQI community and anyone marginalised by society simply because of what they believe or an aspect of their bodily form that is perceived not to be the “norm”, have all that trauma, all those ups and downs and they also have to live their lives dealing with serious and widespread discrimination and injustice. They most definitely do not have routine everyday access to human rights in the way that I do and that’s not OK.
So as of today I find myself in new and scary territory as I don't know what to do. I do not yet know what my part in the dismantling of white supremacy is, but I do know that I have one to play. For now, I need to read, understand and learn more and no longer stay silent when I see things happening in and around my life. I will be more conscious of my own language, decision making and how I focus my business and my life going forward.
I am a Life Coach and I intend to be exactly that. I count myself blessed to work amongst a group of truly inspiring women of all shapes and sizes, cultures, backgrounds, beliefs and sexual preferences. One thing I do know that we can all do equally well, is work together to end this shit for good, as I for one want to see it gone in my life time. Enough already!