elle sagenev wrote:I have started and it's anxiety enducing ya'll. I've had some friends posting things on Facebook that aren't very nice. I've just scrolled past before. I don't get political on social media. I don't argue with people. I've never seen the point. (permies is the exception because Paul and moderators have done a nice job making this a safe place and ya'll are amazing)
Today I replied to one of the posts. I replied mother to mother. Her saying she won't teach her son to see color. Me saying me either, but that doesn't stop people from seeing his color. Then she posted about how she doesn't feel guilty being white and if anyone had a problem with it to remove her. Shocked, was I. I don't feel guilty being white. I don't think we need to feel guilty to feel compassion and empathy.
I have been thinking a lot about what you said. It's a really hard question. And yeah, people get so offended.
Taking a stand truly is difficult. Its exhausting. I admit I am not anywhere near as good or consistent at doing it as I should be. And I feel nothing I do is ever enough, and sometimes I wonder if it's worth trying.
In the last year, I hear started speaking up when I am offended on social media, if the person sharing is someone I know and respect. It's hard. I havent lost any social media friends yet, but it may have been close. Occasionally they take it down, and i noticed one person i spoke to a few times has stopped sharing those kinds of memes. Sometimes, I think I do it not to stop them or change their minds- but so the OTHER people seeing the thing dont think everyone thinks it's ok. I try and remind people about humanity, and empathy, and tend to write fairly long (no surprise, for me) posts about WHY I feel a certain way.
I often find people demonizing some other position, and then write, even if I dont share the position an explanation of WHY people might feel that way. I think we need to remember people, and that people have different experiences that lead to different beliefs, and a lot of awful beliefs come from a feeling of fear.
In public- it's a lot harder. It's definitely even more anxiety producing. For good friends, it's worth more effort to figure out and question the source of the belief (what is causing the fear, usually).
I am so lucky to work in places where one (bad) sexist remark, one racist remark, one homophobic remark, can and will get you fired. It's rare, but it's a line people know not to cross. A lot of job sites I work at are associated with Impact Benefit Agreements with first nations, and require mandatory training on sensitivity and the local culture to be there on your first day. I really do think it makes a difference.
I see Canadas politics going down the same drain as the US where neither side is willing to respect and hear the other side out, and it terrifies me. I have been comparing the current world (not just North American ) situation to either the fall of the Roman Empire, or the rise of fascism/communism in Europe and WW2 for the last 5 years or so. It terrifies me. So its worth speaking up about, despite the discomfort.
I find myself stuck in the middle- defending (to both sides) rural/construction/trades workers and city people, responsible gun control, environmental regs and resource projects, urban/rural divide, western/eastern divide, etc etc. Trying to find common ground, and explain things totally out of others experience. Pleading for moderate thought.
For racism, i am also working to be less unconciously racist myself. I find it helps me become less racist to consciously not refer to people as "that black person" "that native person" "that Muslim person". I refer to them as Name, who is from X. So my coworker Hani, who is from Iran, instead of my Iranian coworker, Hani. Our polar bear monitor, who is Inuit, instead of our Inuit polar bear monitor. It shifts the focus from the group to the person. Its subtle, something I am trying to do in everyday conversation, and I think it helps me. And if it isnt relevant to the conversation, I drop the term entirely. So unless I am specifically talking about Iran or immigration, for which Hani's Iranian background matters, he is just "my coworker, Hani". I am far from perfect though.
Its exhausting, but I truly believe if we dont fight for understanding, for empathy, to bridge the divide, our society will fail.
Your friend- who says she does not feel guilty to be white. That's fine. I am not either, and I would rankle at the suggestion she should be. But that's an arguement that misses the point. The point is not to make people embarrassed to be white, but embarrassed to be racist. The point is to make sure that people of other races can be proud and unafraid too. My suspicion is that she DOES feel guilty when she sees these things, and, rather than confront that guilt, she turns rejects the thing that makes her uncomfortable.
I sincerely wish you luck in your efforts Elle. It's not an easy thing to do. I really hope, by the time your son is an adult things will have changed for the better.