Let the discomfort that you may be feeling be a wake up call.
This is a time for listening. Listening to the voices that have been long oppressed.
As we listen, we are learning how afraid and stifled and ignored, Black, Indigenous, and other minority groups have been in our society. So afraid to say the wrong thing and upset the White man. Expected to assimilate into our culture, but never have theirs represented or respected. It is disgraceful, the extent to which the recent colonizers of this land have gone to destroy the indigenous culture that once stewarded this place.
It is tragic, that people are treated differently, throughout various systems, because of the colour of their skin.
The abuse of authority, lethal and non-lethal, physical and psychological, brings incredible sadness to the world.
It has been mirrored back, that the same fear and sadness and uncertainty and confusion that I am feeling in this time, has been long held by minorities growing up in this world where White culture has represented the status quo.
The fear and sadness I refer to, in myself, is not understanding where I fit in here. Not understanding what I’m supposed to do, and the guilt that I feel as a White man.
The optimist in me compels me to look for the good in this. And it can be challenging when there is so much anger and sadness, but what I am hearing, is the stories of racialized minorities, I mean finally hearing stories of what it is like to grow up as a BIPOC in this colonized western world.
As much pain as it took to get here, and I am in no way celebrating the tragedies, I find relief in the fact that these voices are now being heard. That people are beginning to listen, and to understand a fraction of the struggle that face minority groups.
I am learning how to act in this time: to listen, to come with an open mind and heart, to not minimize the issues that Black people, Indigenous people, and all People of Colour face as they work to coexist in a system which has historically treated them as ‘lesser than’.
I have been taught to respect all people, regardless of their race, and doing so I have been a friend. But becoming an ally is something more. It is letting people know that this is not ‘their fight’, but ‘ours’. It is an act of solidarity as we work together to create more peace on the planet.
We need to use our privilege to be good allies.