White Privilege + What you can do #FamiliesBelongTogether
ACKNOWLEDGING MY WHITE PRIVILEGE
First, let me acknowledge this: I am late to the fight. I am late to waking up to the racism present everywhere in our country. I am late to acknowledging my white privilege, and other privileges I have being a cis-gendered womxn.
I am so late, and I am so sorry.
The past few weeks have been eye-opening for me. Really - the past few years since Trump became president. Yes, I am one of those white womxn who “became woke” once Trump arrived in office. When it became clear that people who look like me were beginning to have their basic human rights questioned.
This seriously saddens me to admit, but that is not the point. The point is: that’s what happened, and this is what white privilege looks like.
I have the privilege to not feel the direct impact of racism. As the Black Lives Matter movement began, as Syrian refugees became ¼ the population of Lebanon, as Black Americans were brutalized by police and systematically oppressed (and as they continue to be)... as all these crises showed up on my Instagram and Facebook newsfeeds.
I had (and have) the privilege to look away.
I have always had the privilege to avoid, ignore, and dismiss when discomfort crept in. Seeing photos of children washed up ashore, names of Black Americans and Indigenous Canadians killed, gone missing, locked up in jail -- seeing the posts, and then closing Instagram.
I had the privilege to be the person who said “That is so terrible. I can’t believe that people act like this!” and then do nothing.
This is privilege.
I was not born from ancestors who were dehumanized for being a certain colour.
I was not born with a name that identified me as a BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Colour), and so cost me a job, a raise, or my safety.
I was not born a person of colour. An indigenous person. A person who is gay. A person who is transgendered. A person who is inherently discriminated against for who they are.
I was born a white, cis-gendered woman. From the moment I was born, I lived in a safe community, in a home that provided warmth and security, and attended school without question.
This is privilege.
What I’m choosing to do now does not negate my privilege. It will always exist because of who I am.
I’m learning that my responsibility as a person who deeply desires change is:
- To listen. To listen to the people who’ve been fighting their entire life.
- To learn. To learn from BIPOC, and especially those who are womxn, about their experiences. About how they want to be supported. About what would actually be supportive.
- To support. To support financially, emotionally, physically, mentally - in the ways we’re being asked to.
- To uplift. To uplift the voices of people who know from personal experience what it’s like to be systematically oppressed.
And it’s my responsibility to address my own prejudices and limiting thoughts/beliefs around race.
I am a fierce, forever feminist. But I still have sexism and misogyny running through my veins. It takes a lifetime to clear these out [...]
This is what we’re talking about when we talk about prejudice. About white privilege. Our culture has taught me to be prejudice against older women, wrinkly women, heavy women, and even thin women (hate them, they’re better than you).
And our culture has also taught me to be prejudice against black people.
You can be anti-racist and still have prejudice running through your veins. You can be one thing and your subconscious can be another thing.
We must be humble about what we have become.
This moment is not asking us: are we racist or not? This moment in our country’s history is asking us: Are we humble or not? Do we have eyes to see what we have become and the courage it takes to unbecome?
- Can you be humble about what you’ve become?
- Can you let go of the need to defend yourself against being racist?
- Can you assume, even for a minute, that you have prejudice running through your own veins?
- Can you look at it?
These are the questions to be asking yourself. These are the questions that will bring us all closer to humanity.
And these are only the beginning. I’m not pretending that I’m without prejudice. These are still present within me, and I’m actively working on addressing them, looking at them, flipping them.
This takes time and I’m not perfect and I know you aren’t either.
Yet, here we are and what do we do now?
#FAMILIESBELONGTOGETHER + WHAT AM I DOING?
Today is June 21st 2018 - Summer Solstice in the Northern Hemisphere. It’s also National Indigenous Peoples Day in Canada.
Today, I’m calling myself out on my white privilege and deciding to act instead of being a bystander. (And no, this does not negate my privilege and past actions).
Yesterday, I sent $50 to Together Rising yesterday (an organization giving 100% proceeds to groups on the ground, getting lawyers and social workers and legal assistants to help these families reunite).
Immediately afterwards, I realized I have the capacity to do more on a continuous basis, and wish to act in a way that supports the collective who are fighting out of anger+love. Who are asking for support.
Starting today, 20% of all Letters & Rope direct sales will be contributed to Together Rising, from now on.
*This will be for sales made directly through me or on my Etsy shop, since retailers require 30-40% commission.
This action is inspired by many leaders - not government leaders, rather womxn leaders in the business, activist, and healing communities. Nisha Moodley, Amy Kuretsky, Lindsay Mack, Glennon Doyle Melton, Brene Brown, Brittany Packnett, and many many more womxn who are using their work, influence, and energy to act.
Why Together Rising? There are many organizations that I believe strongly in. I’ve decided to contribute these funds to Together Rising for the time being. They’re a group that matches 100% of donations to people and organizations who are effectively addressing critical needs of human suffering. You can learn more about them here. I’ll add more organizations as funds grow, and as I receive recommendations from others.
I’m choosing to do this because I’m no longer going to sit back and say “I can’t believe this is happening.” Because it is happening. And only our actions, made out of anger+love, will help heal.
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
You can ACKNOWLEDGE your privilege - be it that you’re white, cis-gendered, straight, middle to upper class, whatever it is. Bring your awareness to it.
You can DONATE your time, energy, attention, and/or money to organizations like Together Rising, RAICES, and ACLU. There are many other organizations doing great work too, and I encourage you to listen to BIPOC for direction on where to donate.
You can LISTEN & LEARN FROM & LIFT UP womxn activists, especially those BIPOC, who have been fighting this fight their entire life. Listen to their stores, read their books and articles, take their workshops. If you are a white person, this is your time to listen. Follow their lead, they are the leaders.
You can DO SOMETHING to change the apathetic narrative across our cities, countries, and around the globe. The smallest action makes a difference.
I encourage you to get curious about your discomfort, lean into it, look at it.
That’s all from me for now. Take the best care of yourselves and each other.