Ok, so February is done and dusted in my Year of Grateful Privilege. (If you’re new to my Year of Grateful Privilege, here’s the post where I explain what this is all about.)
I’ve chosen my favourite post from the month, because it was an insanely powerful moment. The picture is above, and for everyone with normal eyesight, here’s the caption:
“Disembarked the bus this morning with 2 Aboriginal ladies and their 2 little ones. They looked confused and weren’t speaking in English, so I asked if I could help with directions. They wanted to get to a place that would have been a good 30 min walk in the 40 degree heat.
We arrived at me booking a taxi, which I happily did. But the taxi was driving around to find us (it was looking on the wrong side of the road) so we tried to flag other taxis down too. A taxi indicated it was pulling over, slowed down and almost like it was at the same moment the driver saw the passengers – it sped off again.
First thing that sprung to mind was ‘did that just happen because of our group’s blackness?’ And there it is – the epitome of white privilege – I have never had to wonder if a taxi driver wouldn’t serve me because of my skin colour.
The taxi I booked found us eventually and the family got off to their destination – so yay for that. Boo for the fact that in only 10 minutes of time with them, the contrast of our daily existence was so starkly highlighted.”
I had a few dark days when I just couldn’t muster up the energy to really say much. And that was flipping distressing realising that in order to be aware of my privilege, and to empathise with the impacts of racism on other lives, that I have to actively think about it. Racism is an in-your-face daily experience, it can’t be escaped. Privilege is like oxygen – it’s just everywhere, and it’s only by knowing it’s power that you can see its existence. If you didn’t understand the properties of oxygen and how it interacts with the environment, you could just blissfully live not knowing oxygen existed. I know oxygen/privilege exists, and yet I can just so easily go about my daily life without having to give it a second thought. That is a pretty depressing thought when you compare it to the realities of POC. It just feels so unjust.
What would I like to do next?
It’s time to get lighter and brighter. Being aware of privilege doesn’t have to mean a life of serious doom and gloom. As I wrote in a recent post:
“Being WOKE doesn’t require being broke when it comes to the simple pleasures in life. I’m just about to round out month 2 of my year of grateful privilege and there’s no way I can survive this year if it’s all about being solemn, serious and self-flagellation (not a dirty word haha!) There’s joy in being woke, because the more I work to shake my head out of the sand, yes, I am seeing the shadows but also so much light”
So in March, I am marching TOWARDS the light. I want to find the humour. I want to start the party. I want to revel in the joy of being woke.
Please do come and follow me at @sarahmillerau – I would love to see you there!