i started this as a thread on the Twitterer but thought it might be good to stick it here as well.
If you’re a white person reading this, i want to encourage you to answer a couple of questions honestly. Then, when you get to the end, read the instruction and work through them one more time.
White friends: i’m not sure enough of us get how different our lived experiences are simply because of colour. [a thread] Think about it.
When was the last time you made a decision that had anything to do with the colour of your skin?
When was the last time you were followed around a store/shop by security?
When was the last time that someone looked at you suspiciously in the street, crossed over to the other side of the road or did their window up as you were walking by their car?
When was the last time on your neighbourhood Whatsapp group that someone reported a ‘suspicious white male’ walking down the street?
When was the last time someone gave you a different name because yours was “too difficult for them to pronounce”?
When was the last time you were the minority race in any kind of gathering? And how often does this happen to you?
When last were you the one white friend in a group of black, coloured and indian friends?
When last did someone comment on how good your english is… for a white person?
When last did someone ask if they could touch your hair and then, without waiting for a reply, be right in there?
When last did you look at a skin colour product in a shop [plaster/bandaid, crayon] that didn’t look like your skin colour?
How hard and long do you have to look when you go to the movies or flip on to Netflix to find a movie or show where people who look like you will be widely represented?
When last were you asked to speak on behalf of all people of your race?
When last did you ask to speak to the person in charge and have it be someone who was not your race?
When last did someone suspect that the job you hold now was one that you got because of your race?
When last did it feel important to make a poster or start a movement with the words “White Lives Matter” on it because so much in the world around you made it seem to you like they didn’t really seem to matter at all?
If the answer to any or all of these questions is “Never” or “Hardly ever” or “Not for the longest time” then please go back and read them again and think of a black, coloured or indian friend you love and imagine what the answers might look like for them…
There are obviously a lot more statements/questions like these that could be made – and i would love to invite black, coloured and indian friends who read this to add their own. And Peggy McIntosh has actually done a much better job than me in terms of unpacking this in an excellent article titled White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack so give that a read. Oh, and yes, all of these questions are linked to the idea of White Privilege you may have previously thought was not a thing. Hopefully, this has helped open your eyes to that a little.
If you got to this point and you can see the truth behind these statements and questions and you are sitting feeling a bit paralysed and have the question, “But What Can I Do?” running through your mind, you can head over here and start working through any of these tips that might apply.
This is not about feeling guilty – it is an opportunity to be and do better! Don’t let it pass you by!