What does a 46-year-old middle-class, white man know about racism?
I don’t know how it feels, but I do know what it looks like because I carry loads of privilege. Packed into this fair-skinned melanin of mine. And I’m done being quiet, I have to weaponise all of my privilege to stand beside my brothers and sisters and say this is not ok.
As America burns (again), some may rightly ask…. is this the America that President Trump was talking about making great again?
Making America great again is an interesting concept. When exactly was America so great?
What period of its bloody history would it be ideal to return to? Like Australia, America is a country that bangs on about freedom while wilfully denying those same freedoms to so many that call that country home – and they don’t just deny their freedom…they deny their life.
In fact, in America, and indeed this land they call Australia, police continue to kill: and they kill black people at a disproportionate rate.
How is it that we as a society we have come so far, we think we are so evolved, yet when it comes the dark pigmentation of someone’s skin we are so readily willing to over-police and criminalise them?
As my 8-year-old daughter says to me, “I just don’t get it, Daddy” – out of the mouth of babes, right?
So to get back to my original question, ‘what the F*$K does a middle-class white boy know about racism, oppression and living under it?’
What I do know is that I will no longer stand quietly by witnessing or accepting the local and international brutality and violence against people of colour. And let me tell you, I am ashamed that it has taken this brutal video account of police killing another black man for me to raise my voice. But this isn’t about me, and it’s about none of you white folk reading this,
We need to stop centring ourselves in these conversations.
As Australia tokenistically “celebrates” Reconciliation week, and cheers themselves on for the eventual “sorry” that came via Prime Minister Rudd, can we honestly say that we are doing enough?
As a person who sits in the most privileged demographic in the world… “white male”, I find myself realising that I have to actually use that power for good…because silence…well its complicity isn’t it?
When we apply all that we have learnt as humans and now understand what it means to be HUMANE, how can we start to apply this to tear down an oppressive, antiquated system built and designed by people just like me, which only serves to benefit people just like me?
The challenge we are up against is that “to those who are accustomed to privilege, equality can feel like oppression”. Those of us who currently benefit from the status quo will need to be willing to become less comfortable in order for change to occur.
As things start to return to some kind of pre #COVID19 normalcy, it will be up to us as a society and a community to collectively decide if we want to MAGA back into some imagined utopia for some, or if we choose to make the world a better place for all. I mean, we can keep taking and consuming and making careers off the backs of those, not in the positions of privilege, but to what end? To serve the great colonial project?
For far too long we have been driven by short term, easy-to-digest, quick-fix solutions, which has seen us land at the moment we are struggling with right now.
So, my fellow people of privilege, I invite you…no I urge you, to take the time you have been gifted by this pandemic to think about what it is that you actually NEED and want to pass on for generations to come? What will your legacy be?
I don’t believe this is a journey that can be taken on its own by siloed groups whose interests get pitted against each other. It only serves WHITE MALE privilege, the patriarchy, and colonialism, capitalism and white supremacy to confuse and separate people. All we do is continue to feed the profit pockets of privilege.
When it comes down to it, all people are asking for is humanity, kindness, understanding and connection….to be valued and respected and treated with dignity. I can’t really understand what’s so big of an ask about that?
This is a call to action for anyone who doesn’t want to return to pre-COVID times. A call to anyone that is no longer happy to sit back in their privileged skin and watch the rest of the world struggle to survive.
As we start to rebuild, let’s repurpose…it’s time to get WOKE AF (as the cool kids would say).
Start to interrogate what we are doing, what we are consuming and why. Start asking yourself why you keep quiet and don’t challenge your racist uncle at the bbq?
Check your own privileges. Understand the ubiquity of whiteness and the very real, and very deadly affects its supremacy is having on people’s lives.
Start to ask yourself why is it we so eagerly uphold systems that only seek to oppress and subjugate, and yes, kill, our neighbours?
Who is benefiting from your complicity, your silence? Who is reaping the rewards from your overconsumption and your misplaced energies and time?
Align yourself with organisations whose values mirror yours, or at least the values you would like to see amplified across the world. And for goodness sake, WAKE UP and speak up!
Don’t walk past the injustices that play out right in front of our eyes across this whole globe anymore. Our white tears are not enough, they never have been. This requires real action.
Talk about it, be willing to have less so others can have more. Think, ask, connect, collaborate, invite, participate and celebrate – share your platforms. Weaponise whatever privileges you have access to – access to venues, access to content, your platform – whatever it is, just show up!
I grew up in the Sutherland Shire and have been ignorantly racist most of my life that’s the privilege that comes with being white and Male.
But I am and have been willing to learn and allowed to make mistakes, which has given me greater insights into the realities of what has happened and is still happening today.
“Only through hardship, sacrifice and militant action can freedom be won”
I have lived and worked amongst the most privileged and the most discriminated of our society, from the highs of property and prestige to the depths of hell battling substance abuse. I am evidence that when supported appropriately, people can change.
After many years of working on my health and wellbeing, I now understand the value of my journey as evidence that people can change. As a result of my studies have provided me with insight and awareness to confidentiality share my story. I display the resilience required to rise above all of the labels society had placed upon me. My journey is evidence that with access to the appropriate support long term change is possible.
I have taken my first steps on a journey to make Systemic Change within the Criminal Justice System. Building Social Capital to design a new framework, that I believe will bring Significant Social Impact and Value.
Things I can do:
Trauma Informed Counsellor || Specialist Consultant || Advocate || Public Speaker
A Community problem requires a community solution.
I am enough - I have enough - There is enough.
"Those closest to the problem, are closets to the solution, but furthest from the resources and power" Glen E Martin
"When a flower doesn't bloom, you fix the environment which it grows in, Not the flower" Alexander Den Heijer.