zaterdag 27 juni 2020

LET'S SIT AND TALK - Rotterdam Centraal

"I am a 'blanke' (Dutch colonial term for white) hereosexual middle aged man. When I apply for a job I am at the bottom. I am the most discriminated against."
This he states as he walks up to where I sit. He doesn't want to sit down. When I engage him in a conversation anyway and let him know that the term is white and that 'blanke' stands for pure, innocent, without sin, he agrees that he is definitely not innocent, but that he doesn't associate those things with the term 'blanke'. When I explain that when you apply for a job with a not-Dutch name you will have less to zero change of being invited, he agrees, but argues that women, immigrants are being put ahead of him, the white guy. He claims that it is economically smatter for a business owner to hire white peers, because people of color will give the boss more trouble. I make clear that a projected bias is at the root of this example. He agrees something is off. When I talk about institutional racism he argues that it was only institutional when slavery was still legal.

There is a reason I ask people to first sit and connect before we start talking about these very uncomfartable and confronting subjects. Most people approach this from the head. This goes especially for white Western people who have being raised and find themselves submerged in a culture and society that praises ratio, individuality and seperation of private and work life. It is not that I believe that one conversation with this particular man will do the trick of connecting him with the bigger picture. He showed all the signs of white fragillity and the classic centered approach of if he doesn't feel or sees it that way then it doesn't apply to the rest of the world. I explained that people of color have a vastly different experience on a daily basis because of racism and whte supremacy. He went for the 'but I see online posts and videos where people of color say discriminating things about white folks'. He laughs uncomfortablity when I explain that racism can only be white people dominating people of color because of structure of power imbedded in our society. He walks off commenting he might look at all these things.
Talking, sharing, listening from a place of connection and mind you compassion, is a way to open up and let in what has been shut out by force for so long.

#endracism #endwhitesupremacy #solidgroud #projectcolorwhite #conversations #letssitandtalk

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