the elephant in the room

The elephant in the room is talking about white privilege, and how black lives matter.

I hadn’t intended saying anything about it.
Then I thought, gosh, if you have already got to the place of deciding who or what you’ll support because of their behaviour and attitudes, you’ll want to know where you stand with me.

Now, this isn’t a lecture.

It’s just me, getting my thoughts in order and putting them in writing.

 

Until recently, whenever I read #BLM, I would say that all lives matter.
They do, but now I realise that this is not about all lives.
White lives matter, too, but this is not about white lives, either.
It’s about the lives of black and indigenous people of colour, who, for centuries and for no good reason, have been deliberately oppressed, belittled, subjugated, silenced, harassed, victimized, deprived, maimed and killed.
It happens here, too.

I think I’m making headway understanding what my white privilege is.
It started when I was born with white skin and into the majority culture of this country.
It’s my culture that created and maintains the institutions that ‘run’ Aotearoa New Zealand;
these institutions and I think alike, I suppose; we have similar expectations about processes and ways of doing things, and as a result, I’m pretty comfortable dealing with them.

There’s my privilege, my advantage, right there.

And if you’re not part of that culture, or you don’t look or sound as if you are (even if you actually are!) you’re on the back foot right from the start.

This is as far as the elephant and I have got on our journey, but at least we’ve started.

Perhaps you want to know more about this, but you’re not sure where to begin.
You can do what I did, and use Google to search for terms like womxn, BIPOC, white privilege, black lives matter.  You can add NZ to each term to make your search country-specific.

And to conclude – an apology.
If, in my white privilege and ignorance thereof, I have ever offended you, I’m deeply sorry.
Please point it out if it happens again so I can make amends and change my ways.

Photo by Joaquín Rivero on Unsplash