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Questions to Explore Racism and Privilege

How is your heart? Feeling tender, I imagine. Please feel free to hit reply to let me know how you’re doing in these challenging times. I’d like to hear.

I have to admit I have felt quite confused about what to do to participate in the anti-racism movement.

I don’t know what’s “right” and I know that anything I do won’t be enough to make up for my inaction of the past.

But fear of doing the wrong thing or wondering if what I do can actually make a difference will not stop me from taking some sort of action now.

In my effort to listen to the current voices of black and Indigenous peoples, the invitation to white people that calls loudest to me is that we start by recognizing and accepting the privilege that comes simply because of the colour of our skin. That we take the time to examine our beliefs, our biases and learn about the racist systems we’ve benefited from.

The action that I’m committed to is

asking and answering hard questions. I am asking them of myself and I am asking them of everyone in my community who is white.

Below are my initial questions for exploration that will hopefully lead to better understanding, greater accountability and responsibility, more empathy, and ultimately additional actions that will lead to tangible change and equality. This is a first baby step.

1. What is my definition of white privilege?
2. How have I benefited from being white?
3. What have I been taught about black people? What beliefs do I still hold that keep them in a position of inequality?
4. What have I been taught about Indigenous peoples? What beliefs do I still hold that keep them in a position of inequality?
5. What have I been taught about other people of colour? What beliefs do I still hold that keep them in a position of inequality?
6. When have I said racist things to others?
7. When have I heard racist things and stayed silent?
8. When have I stood up and challenged racist statements?
9. How can I educate myself about the history of racism in Canada (and other countries)?
10. What am I willing to give and/or give up in order for all people to have access to the same basic necessities for a good life?
11. Have you even been discriminated against? If yes, reflect on what that felt like and how you responded How does your experience help you empathize with others who are discriminated because of the colour of their skin? If you haven’t ever been discriminated against, how can you open your heart to simply listen and hold the experiences of other who have been?

I also have a nudge from my heart to explore these questions together, in a sort of sharing circle. The benefit of a circle is that it holds space for sharing/witnessing our thoughts and beliefs without judgment, by exploring alternative perspectives, and providing accountability to our intentions for change.

If you have any interest in exploring these questions in a circle environment let me know by replying. If there’s enough of us, I’ll sort out at least one Zoom call for us to connect. Then we can take it from there.

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