Is it just best I stay out of this..?
I think this is the sentence many people have considered or may have said out loud in the last week. Staying out of racism is not an option for me personally.
So, we are here at this point my friend where many of us are raising our heads, opening our hearts and listening, learning.
As a white female with privilege who is the granddaughter and daughter of white South African Farmers, I have often felt it inappropriate for me to talk about race and racism.
What we have seen in the last week has shaken the world when it comes to racism and the systemic violence and oppression against people of colour and the murder of George Floyd.
I was afraid to say all the wrong things.
I was scared to get it wrong by speaking up.
I realised after many conversations; it was better to mess this up, stand up and stay something.
Rather than to say nothing at all.
To stay silent for me, would be personally sitting on the side of the oppressor.
In the home I was brought up in, it was drummed in to me to be inclusive regardless of colour. The value system I was given was kindness and politeness was the law when it comes to interacting with people of colour. What that guidance did was create a fragility where I thought it was inappropriate to reference the colour of another persons’ skin. To reference a difference in their culture was wrong.
I thought I was inclusive by following the guidance I was given.
I am guessing right now, many of us have been given a guidance and value system when it comes to people of colour.
Is this the moment you begin the process of unpacking your value system with an open and honest heart, placing fragility to one side and looking at things from a different viewpoint?
By doing my work, I now realise my version of inclusivity was me whipping away other peoples culture, colour, value systems and thinking that the way I was brought up was correct.
That my friend is how racism works – my way is the RIGHT way for people of colour.
“Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.” —Maya Angelou
Over the years, I have worked on how I speak up about this with my friends and clients of colour. Until today, I have never stood on my platform and placed my opinion out loud. This is where we can make a difference.
Do our work, own our fragility and value systems.
See our unconscious bias.
Take ownership of your conscious bias.
I have pulled together a list of resources below that may help you, if you choose, to unpack your story about the relationship with racism.
This is not straight forward. Racism and the move towards anti-racism are mired in complexity. Our job is to stay in the room of the tough stuff, have the conversations, listen and have more conversation – TAKE ACTION. Hundreds of years of oppression and racism will not be healed overnight, this is going to take generations to reorganise and improve.
All I ask is you stay in the room while we all figure out the complexities, support your friends, family, colleagues of colour – They are damn tired right now.
“I understand that I will never understand.
However, I stand with you.
I’m here to learn and to listen, to speak out against racial injustice
and to be an ally to all BIPOC .”
HERE Are 10 Actions You Can Take To Promote Racial Justice In The Workplace.
Let me be clear: stating that black lives matter doesn’t insinuate that other lives don’t.
Essential films and TV series you can watch to learn and educate on injustice are HERE.
Books to read and points to listen to are HERE.
To Donate. Our recommendations are HERE.
To hear what white privilege looks like in a mixed-race family click HERE.
This list is not exhaustive; this is where we have started. Please email us at admin team at jogrobbelaar dot com if you have further recommendations to include on this list.
We are listening.
We are learning.
We are committed to doing better.
We are taking action.