The past two weeks have been an incredible time.
Yes, some of the conversations on Social Media got a little aggro, but there were also some really incredible interactions, both online and off and it feels like the #FeesMustFall movement and events really got a lot of people thinking. And introduced many new people to some of the conversations we have been having on Privilege and Restitution and Racism and more.
There were a number of exciting “AHA!” moments i got to witness. Someone posted on my Facebook wall, “I finally get what white privilege is all about. Thanks for persevering.” and there were also a couple of moments within back and forth arguments where suddenly the light seemed to go on. I get it. Which is really encouraging for those of us who have been bravely soldiering on [And it is bravely sometimes as people who don’t yet ‘get it’ when it comes to privilege and race conversations tend to for the most part respond quite defensively and at times personally] calling on our white friends and acquaintances in particular to take a step towards Being a More Effective Ally and realising that as long as one suffers we all suffer.
BEFORE YOU RUSH IN
i attended a workshop run by Caroline Powell from the Warehouse the other day and found it extremely helpful.
She spoke about how we tend to rush towards formulas and yet where people and complicated situations are involved, formulas don’t often cut it.
She also pointed out that whenever there is an AWAKENING [that Aha! i finally get it moment] we usually want to jump to IMPLEMENTATION [What can i do? i need to do something. Let me do something. Surely doing anything is better than doing nothing? On that, no, doing something bad, hurtful, oppressive, damaging is not as good as doing nothing]. Then shared this chart, not as a formula that is always going to work neatly and comfortably from one space to the next, but that gives a helpful idea of some other steps that might be really helpful once the AWAKENING has occurred.
AWAKENING – AHA! moment – i finally get white privilege, see the racism in me, etc
LISTENING – before jumping to action, let me listen, to really try and hear what is being said
DISCERNMENT – i’ve noticed something, i’ve listened, let me try and understand the bigger picture of what is happening and what is necessary and perhaps what my place and role in this can be – this process will often happen with other people who better understand the context and situation and have more wisdom to offer
PLANNING – Instead of rushing in with some action, let me come up with a plan, and do the necessary and important groundwork to that will lead towards that plan being effectively achieved
IMPLEMENTATION – Do you see the difference? All of those steps between AWAKENING and IMPLEMENTATION which all increase the likelihood of my IMPLEMENTATION being effective and sustainable and relevant
REFLECTING – Follow IMPLEMENTATION with REFLECTION to ensure that what you did actually achieved the hope for results or was what was needed or helpful. This step may lead you towards more:
As Caroline said to us, this is not necessarily a smooth one leads to two leads to three cycle. But the different steps there can be really powerful in terms of making sure that any involvement you have, is a positive and hopefully powerful thing.
If you were someone that had an AHA! moment in the last two weeks or so in terms of this conversation, please share it with us and give us a glimpse into what you think helped lead you to that point. Which of the steps above would you say is a current weakness of yours which you need to work a little harder at?