I can imagine the pain of realizing your body is more likely to invite aggression and hostility and fear and distrust and simple dislike.
Trans people recognize it and sexworkers, working class people. Women in certain cultures or male dominated places experience it.
And to be in that body every day.
— I do have white privilege.
The street at night, the street during the day.
Things I say, things I don’t say.
Mistakes I make, leeway I am given.
Traveling wherever I want. Feeling at home in all those places.
I have white privilege that extends to education, voting, networking, police interactions, movies, advertisements, shopping.
It extends to renting places, doctor’s offices, to acceptance of my clothes, of being a bit of a smart-ass, of speaking up whenever I want, to political spaces, online and in person.
This privilege is present. And it really is not a one post/one verdict kinda problem.
So, we have to do something about it.
1. When you attend an activist meeting and there are no POC, leave and publicly state why you are leaving. Announce and set up a new meeting for the same topic and employ all your facebook contacts or POC groups to make it diverse.
2. If you use volunteers in your job or school, go to high schools and churches in areas where there are more persons of colour. In Toronto, north and west of Eglinton West subway, Chinatown. Scarborough. At those schools and churches ask for the community contact or the social worker. Contact their theatre groups, debating teams.
3. When you look for employees decide that you are going to choose between hiring people who are already part of the class in power and have a cv at 18 that goes on for two pages in extra-curricular activities or decide that diversity is more important than a long cv and spend a longer time interviewing people to suss out capability.
4. When you have hired a more diverse group of employees, spend money on or advocate for spending money on things middle and upper class people take for granted: how to conduct meetings, how to wine and dine, how to network, how to debate, how to lose a battle and win a war, how to ask for a raise.
Teach people how these things are done in your particular field- because that can differ.
5. In diverse groups nothing is more important than to get accustomed to differences. Don’t wait for someone to arrange after work drinks. Arrange it yourself or get a roster going. and keep meeting.
6. Join a group like Justice For Migrant Workers, Trans Pulse project, Maggies the Toronto Sexworkers Action Project, No On Is Illegal. Go once a month. Donate money or time.
Did you think it wasn’t going to take you too much time?
This inequity; this heartbreaking loss of chances; these interrupted, stopped lives, they are the road generally, thoughtlessly taken by all of us. Every day.
And changing this, is going to take us time.
It is going to take time *away*, time that you would rather spend drinking coffee, zoning out, working out, chatting away at the water cooler, laughing with friends…
I am not saying you have to do this every day, although some of us do.
Think of Amnesty International. They have people donating and they have people writing letters. They have people on phone banks. People on the street. People in education… There are so many different things you can do. Do something you like.
We live in a fast paced society. We have a thousand and one commitments.
So, commit to one act a week. Do *something*.
This idea may leave a bitter taste in your mouth. It is not enough. That is true. And it is also true that all those small acts will make a difference. Over months and years.
Sorry, there is no band-aid.
No quick IKEA fix-it-for-everyone.
But this is how we use our white privilege to include persons of colour.