There’s a time to speak & a time to listen,
There’s a time to tell your own story & a time to hear others,
There’s a time to take a break because you can & a time to take a break because you have to,
There’s a time to reflect & a time to act.
Today’s a day to reflect.
Based on an incident with a nurse while I was in ICU, last week I asked you to gird your loins as we dive in together to tackle issues like racism & sexism. I described 4 ways to frame your thoughts while doing so. And I explained the concept of praxis- constantly cycling back & forth between action & reflection as a way to move through tough issues.
Today let’s dive into the reflection part of praxis (next week we’ll focus on action).
Start by thinking about your power & privilege – how much of it do you or don’t you have & what does that mean?
Power & privilege is reflected in things like:
- Whether you are likely to be followed by security when shopping simply because of the colour of your skin (racial privilege)
- The ease or difficulty in getting a loan (socio-economic privilege)
- If you can read food labels & other daily items without problems (literacy privilege)
- If you’ve ever been a victim of mansplaining (gender privilege)
- Whether you’ve experienced mental health issues due to gender based violence (mental health privilege)
- If you can marry the partner of your choice &/or show public displays of affection without fear of retribution, judgment or violence (sexual orientation privilege)
I’m a mzungu (white person) living in Kenya. I have waaaaaay more (unearned) privilege than the average Kenyan citizen. For example I drive a car with diplomatic plates, I have multiple degrees & have house help. And on the other side of power & privilege I’ve been a victim of gender based violence so extreme it resulted in a severe case of PTSD years ago.
Each person’s access to power & privilege will be mixed & unique.
I encourage you to reflect on your own mix. Here are some resources to do just that:
- 5 types of Becky; an illuminating look at white folks’ privilege
- What I Said When My White Friend Asked for My Black Opinion on White Privilege; ‘nuf said
- Patti Digh; a constant source of incisive insight, wisdom & humour on racism, power, privilege & lots more. One of her posts about being able to take a break from all the bad news is a sign of privilege in itself was a real ah ha moment for me.
- Kelly Diels – a powerful writer, mostly about racism & sexism, who makes you sit up straight & think
Hard stuff. And if you need some motivation in terms of getting out of a box (boxed in thinking), here’s a funny resource to help you do just that (& yup, being able to take a break is a sign of privilege).
Til next week dear one, where I’ll write about ways to take action after all that reflecting.
- check out the links above & let me know what you think. I’ll be waiting & reflecting.