The British almost eliminated the entire aborigine Tasmanian Population of Australia in the 1800s by kidnapping, enslaving, torturing and murdering them. #BlackHistoryMonth
A THREAD! pic.twitter.com/RkQKZA09IW
— AFRICAN & BLACK HISTORY (@AfricanArchives) February 23, 2022
Australia is grounded in deep racism—a racism that is under the surface, and one that I see as stolen land.
I don’t celebrate Australia Day anymore. I was once ignorant to the pain it caused as invasion day to the Indigenous. I admit, I never thought I was racist. I was that white girl who befriended anyone no matter their color, creed, or culture. I was also the girl who said she didn’t see color. Oh, boy was I wrong about not being biased at the very least.
Although Australia and America share a culture of racism, there is a huge difference that I only saw when I moved here.
The microaggressions that are so prevalent and in plain sight, so ingrained in what seemed like ancient white history, bore down on me and brought me to tears in my first months here.
How can a country be so backward and yet so advanced at the same time? It was like looking in the revision mirror but expecting to see where you were going all at once. I was angry. Angry at myself, angry at how people could be so mean and judgmental, angry at how I could have been so blind to my own racial bias. I wanted to be an ally, but what did that mean and why did it feel so uncomfortable. As I like to say, “Discomfort, a sign of change, a dislodgement of belief, a teacher of your values.”
After moving to America, I realized, shamefully, that my total concept of life for people of color was through the lens of a movie camera. I had a lot of unlearning to do about my own country of origin and my new country, which were both built on stolen and enslaved generations.
After a year, this is what I have learned so far about being an ally and what white privilege is:
1. It’s f*cking uncomfortable work, it’s everyday work, it’s owning up to my own thoughts and changing the narrative.
2. It’s my job to do the work. I learn from the women of color around me and on Instagram a lot, but it is my responsibility to do the research, the self-exploring, and the work.
3. White people cannot teach other white people about the benefits of being white, because we have always been white. We are so whitewashed.
4. I will never know what any person of color goes through, not even when I can relate to being discriminated against as a woman.
5. The discomfort becomes a compass during social settings, with friends, family, and coworkers, and that discomfort is telling me to speak up. So I speak up.
6. I will get it wrong at times, but it is better to speak up and ask questions than it is to continue to remain quiet.
7. After the discomfort came the tendency to overcompensate my support. This opened up the concept of inequality and my overcompensation was still not treating people of color as equal. That is white privilege.
8. Just because I have had struggles in my life does not mean that I have not experienced white privilege. Simply being white is white privilege.
9. White privilege is being given the answers to the exams without studying and not even knowing it.
10. I still have so much more to learn.
The fact that I have written about white privilege in a nonpolitically correct way for Black History month is not lost on me.
My first thought at the start of February was that Black History should be celebrated every month. But what seems like common sense to me is also my white privilege. I learned a lot this month from the past, present, and what the future of Black History holds.
I will continue to learn each month, but this will be the first and last time I write about it. No one needs to know I am doing the work but myself; however, I do have a responsibility to share with all other white people that they have a responsibility, too, especially white women.
Feel free to share with me any teachers, mentors, and other people who inspire you to learn and do this work. I can never have too many people to learn from.