At the start of 2017, I was walking and thinking about how good my life was (I think it was that holiday euphoria) – and it occurred to me that so much of what I’m grateful comes to me out of privilege – whether that be the privilege of having white skin, or being part of the dominant culture.
So I started #ayearofgratefulprivilege – a little Instagram project to make the effort to express gratitude each day for things that would normally slide by – the stuff that underpins so much of my daily existence.
My hope was to build my own awareness of the unique challenges facing those who are disadvantaged by systematic racism. Also, I hoped it would help me to become a better HR professional, and design student – but more importantly – a better wife and mother in my interracial, interreligious, and all things inter marriage!
Well it’s February – so that’s 1 month down and 11 more to go in my year of grateful privilege.
What have I learnt so far?
There are great resources out there – so my ignorance definitely was not for a lack of information being available to me.
In fact, most of my awakening to white privilege was through experiencing life with my significant other who is not white. It was things like him getting pulled aside at airports when we were walking together – why just him? Or how service staff would suddenly become far more pleasant when they realised I was with him. This was what twigged me to it, but it’s definitely stuff I could have learnt about without having to experience it!
What’s stuck with me the most?
This quote from this article:
“You should know that … It’s not the job of those who are disadvantaged by white privilege to calmly educate white people about it.”
This certainly put a fire in my belly to keep going with the project.
Weirdest thing that’s happened?
Being asked if Adelaide is super racist because of my observations when I’m going about my daily life. Um, no. Adelaide is in fact far less overtly racist than Singapore, for instance. But of course it will sound racist if I’m talking about things that most people would usually ignore.
Best thing that’s happened?
Really awesome conversations that probably wouldn’t have happened before, because people didn’t really know that I was interested in this stuff.
What would I like to do next?
Keep posting every day and just see what comes up. An interesting side effect has been how finely tuned my spidey-sense is getting to interactions between people. I am keen to see what things I’m going to observe next that I would normally just ignore.
Please do come and follow me at @sarahmillerau – I would love to see you there!