It's difficult to know what to say and there's a hushed fear in many white people in how to express our empathy in a respectful manner. Many people want to help fellow humans suffering. Many people do not stop at appearance and disregard the soul in the eyes looking at them, this is acknowledged and we don't need to preach it, that is not what this is about. White people do not need to prove that they aren't racist, they need to support the call for change. The evidence that cannot be ignored, is that the majority of white people are racist. There would be no fight for basic human rights if this was not the case. Acknowledgment is important, of racism and of white privilege.
We at Deer and Fawns support POC and acknowledge that this is not a new problem that has suddenly arisen. This has been ongoing for a very long time.
We stand with you.
What can white people do to support POC?
Progress is made in breaking cycles.
"It is the DELUSION OF SUPREMACY
Created from a deep virus of fear
Only inner fear can create hate
So let’s call it what it is and shift the paradigm
From White Supremacy to White InFEARiority
How do we fight this fear?
We fight through unity"
Dr. Shefali (author of The Conscious Parent) often talks about how culture and parents impact our psychological upbringing. We are raised as products of this.
Many find ourselves at a point of time in our lives where we feel a calling to 'find ourselves', this calling isn't to go out and discover a new person within ourselves. That idea is illusory. This calling is from our inner child desperate to reconnect with the world and shed the layers that have been put on us by culture, society, people that have added their layers onto us. Their ideals. Their opinions. Their burdens and their dreams. Shedding all of this to create our own.
No child is born with hate in their heart. Children are incredibly loving, curious, and always learning through their play, their interactions, through words and actions that are directed at them and that they witness between others. Children learn hate because children learn fear. This is a cycle that passes generation to generation until the cycle is broken, or else it will continue.
Let me give you my example.
I grew up learning judgment of others based on their skin colour, religion, gender, sexual orientation. It took a ridiculous amount of time for me to learn what the term Racism even was, what it meant and why it was wrong. As a primary school child, I went on a school camp and made a comment about another child, from another school, in the company of children I went to school with. This comment of course landed me in trouble with the teachers. At the time I didn't know I was being racist. I didn't know what racism was. I thought I was making a joke, like the kind I had heard family make about others times before. It was normalised. Despite this, racism was still continued in my family which is conflicting for a child to see something as okay by people close and be told it's wrong by others. It took me educating myself over the years, stripping away those layers and growing through internal work, healing my inner child as I 'found myself', to express my own opinons. What I feel is right by my heart and what I know to be the right thing by others. To truly have empathy in place of judgment. Empathy in place of judgment takes a lot of work against the human condition.
The realisation in all of this was that judgment is based on fear. That all those comments and name-calling I had heard through my life by many people, stemmed from fear. They were still trying to be good people in many ways and I can see that they all had their own hurt in their lives that they carried with them in different forms, with little healing and a lot of projection. Despite having starting off their lives as pure souls, despite having POC in their lives through work and friendships, there was still a cultural norm that told them their behaviour was okay.
Some had been hurt by a bad person and this planted a seed of fear. There is a lack of understanding, a lack of connection, a lack of growth and education for other walks of life.
The cycle, a virus of what they were also conditioned to, by culture, parents, society. What was normalised. Generations of segregation deeply embedded with a generalisation of race, religion, gender, sexual orientation.
This needs to stop. This needs to change and as adults we are all capable to make this change. To educate ourselves and learn better.
Accountability is the first step to growth. I acknowledge that I started off my childhood with racism, I am accountable for that, I didn't know different. I grew and disassociated from that and this is where the cycle ends.
At the very beginning of becoming parents, my husband and I set a strong boundary that we would not put up with any racism around us and our children. That is something that we have always protected. In the early days if a racist remark was made, we would make the person accountable for it. Accountability has helped them find growth. Accountability isn't to shame, it is to acknowledge that something isn't okay. Shame comes naturally when we realise we have done something wrong.
We can teach our children acceptance, equality, kindness, empathy.
If we hear someone being racist or discriminate against gender, religion, orientation, we can hold them accountable. Ask them the questions that will really make them look internally and reflect on their behaviour.
Why do you say these things? What are you fearful of? Why do you feel superior? What is making you hurt inside? Why do you feel like you need to project that hurt onto others?
Read books, listen to podcasts, support businesses owned by POC, vote wisely for change, write letters to government officials, sign petitions, hear stories, attend classes, learn histories (true histories, not what you read in books written by white folk). We can educate ourselves and break the cycles. Don’t try to be their voice as a white person, help their voices be heard, amplified.
I acknowledge my privilege and I pledge to add more multicultural elements to my store and share the resources we use in our own home with our children that promote equality and empathy. I will support more indigenous Australian’s small businesses and will continue to educate myself. I will continue to listen.