February 23, 2011 § 4 Comments
In Australia, I have so many friends, awesome in many ways but I’d be without MOST of them if I distanced myself from those that had done just one of the following:
– exoticised the skin tone and background of myself / other people of colour to my face
– appropriated the styles and forms of expression and rebellion of ‘other’ cultures (of people of colour) for their own creative self-expression and/or radical credibility (without acknowledgment of the privilege they are enacting to do so)
– called me ‘paranoid’ when I’ve expressed my concerns of being treated suspiciously/differently because of my race/skin tone.
– never initiated an observation/conversation about racism nor called out peers for racism such as the above
– not acknowledged the above things as racism.
If I chose to only hang around with people with good racial politics, the friends I would have that weren’t people of colour themselves would fit around my small kitchen table.
I choose not to isolate from my broad range of friends because I want to believe that people share more humanity than our differences and that racist ignorance can change through conversation, self-education and experience with consciousness. The responsibility for change should not have to be in the hands of people of colour. The effort should be coming from all non-people-of -colour, non-Indigenous Australians to bring about an awareness of white privilege.
The focus of my energy has to be in constructing my own positive identity and presence in the world as a person of colour. I am open to conversation but meanwhile talk amongst yourselves please.