There’s a lot we still don’t know about the history of people of colour. Indigenous peoples. People who laid the foundations of our world, and had their lands and resources stolen from them with brutal murder, oppression and enslavement.
But there is a lot to learn about our world and ourselves in discovering more in our histories. We are ALL affected by these systems and internalised and institutional racism and prejudice against anyone who is not a part of (or at least close to) the Dominant Culture.
*Dominant Culture: cisgender male, straight, white, able-bodied, middle-class.*
It’s in the past
FACT: Unless you are a world-renowned historian who somehow had a great education on ALL world history and perspectives, it is likely that there are a great many gaps in your knowledge about the history behind our institutions and nations!
You may know some things, but not the whole story, frankly.
Apparently, the British government of the time have admitted to hiding and destroying historical documents from the 20th century and before. They wanted to erase what they had done to colonised nations. They wanted to scrub their bloody, dirty hands clean.
But their hands are not clean.
Anyone who thinks that slavery is in the past. Or oppression is in the past. I have a few questions for you:
- What “past” are you referring to, exactly? Slavery, which was abolished in America in 1865, but is still real in some parts of the world? Apartheid which only ended in 1994 (a year before I, a mere 25-year-old, was born)? Or George Floyd‘s death not even two months ago (among the long, LONG list of black boys and men who didn’t deserve to die)?
- Do you actually know all the facts about this so-called past you’re referring to, which you think we should all forget now? Because you can’t, or at least shouldn’t, move past something that hasn’t even been acknowledged…
- Do you really think that the past has no place in the present and our future? Do you not think the past is the structural foundations of our world, and therefore something to be looked to, remembered, and learned from?
We need to hear the stories of the past. The fact remains that we just don’t know about these things enough. We’re all so scared, or ashamed, or uncomfortable that we hide. But hiding and silencing only allows racism and exclusion to continue.
Sharing stories, honouring the past, speaking the ugly truth leads to healing.
- Read about histories other than what was taught at school
- Question what you’re taught in the classroom
- If you hold any power or position, teach these things in classrooms
- Keep learning
(Natives, Why I No Longer Talk To White People About Race, and This Book is Anti-Racist are books I’ve read so far that have an extensive, interesting and eye-opening collection history I knew nothing about).
Diversity < Inclusion
Many people genuinely feel like they aren’t racist because they have friends who are people of colour. Or their office is diverse and therefore their boss isn’t racist or prejudice of any groups.
No, no, no!
There is a difference between diversity and inclusion. A difference between seeing a person’s colour and seeing a person as a colour.
Let me explain…
Many institutions have to hire “diverse” groups. They look bad or will be penalised for excluding people of colour and people with different sexual preferences than the perceived “norm”. Therefore, when it comes to hiring, at times, they select a person of colour just to fill a quota, not because they see the merit in that individual.
How sad is that?
If you want to really know if an institution is problematic, look at the heads of the company. Are they all white, cisgender, straight males? Yeah, I thought so.
So what we need is not diversity, per se, where it is easy for businesses or even everyday individuals to pick the gay black girl. We need INCLUSION. We need these people to be part of the conversations. To be in the boardrooms. To be calling the shots. To be making the decisions in order to make real change.
- Put people of colour in positions of power, like they so rightly deserve
- Allow all kinds of people to be an active, and HEARD part of the conversation
- Put PoC on the TV screens as MAIN CHARACTERS WHO AREN’T STEREOTYPCICAL OR PROBLEMATIC
- Give PoC the awards and recognition they deserve
Not for TOKENISM! I am not here to stand for all of my race or ethnic group!
I’m so glad to hear that some white people are holding their hands up and actually welcoming being called-out! Being called-out means someone has spoken up and told you that something you’ve said or done was problematic or offensive.
This is not an invitation for an argument or conflict. It is an invitation for learning, connection and self-improvement.
It takes an intelligent, mature person to be called-out and learn from it and be respectful and empathetic, instead of rude, passive-aggressive, dismissive, defensive, argumentative, or other. So, well done if that’s you! If not, you can still try harder next time.
We all can learn a lot from less talking, more listening.
You do not get to tell someone how they should feel.
We are the majority
Stop calling us minority groups. “Ethnic minorities.” We are the Global Majority. We are not small. You do not dominate over us. You can’t push us all together in your little boxes with your suffocating labels.
We are the Global Majority. We will not be minimised.
Working on being anti-racist? Great! Welcome, Ally! Click the link to my blog post here for more on what to do…