I resent saying I’m a white woman. As a child I had olive skin and now it varies between pinky and sometimes a bit marbley off-white to light tan depending on the weather.
So I’m a mixture of different toned skin.
Regrettably I get lumped in with the white/Caucasian category for the census and cultural purposes. One size fits all… not!
And, as a mixture of different toned skin woman, I’m irritated by some social media posts by white people, or perhaps similarly toned skin to mine people, who imply they know what black/brown of all shades skin people are going through right now.
You might ask what I’m going on about. At the moment I’m not quite sure but I trust my Wild Soul’s giving me the right words and thoughts for where-ever IT wants me to go.
This morning I heard, ‘You have a voice. Use it!’ So I am.
Ah… I know…
I was born into a racist society here in the UK just after World War II. It’s as simple as that. I remember my Jewish of Eastern European descent grandmother saying of the British fascists, ‘When they’re having a go at the blacks at least they’re leaving us alone!’
And we were ‘white.’
My mother and her brother were fair-haired, fair skinned and blue-eyed. So was my younger sister. If your surname didn’t give you away, nobody would notice you walking into a room.
I was dark like my father but as I grew people often thought I was Spanish or Italian.
Phew… got away with it!
But black/brown of all shades skin people couldn’t and can’t get away with it… even if they wanted to!
And no freakin’ way can I know what they’re going through right now…
Not in a month of Sundays!
During my waking up as an adult I realised, despite being raised in a racist society, I had a choice. I could choose to start educating myself and treat everyone the same.
Sometimes I fail miserably… I cannot be arsed with bigots and career victims!
And sometimes I fail with my black/brown of all shades skin colleagues and friends for the very reason that no way can I know what they’ve been through or are going through. Their history and reality are not my history and reality.
I can only imagine. I can only empathise from places in me that have experienced prejudice and abuse. I can only support. But I can’t ever, ever know and would never presume I could.
The very fact we have to say #BLACKLIVESMATTER breaks my heart… That would be self-evident in a just world and we don’t live in one.
This is scary to write but, as my Wild Soul said, I have a voice. If I don’t use it and remain silent how can I look myself in the face?
As much as I’ve worked on myself, I can’t be sure some unconscious racism hasn’t leaked out. If it has, call me out on it. I’d want to know.
Scary too as this post will be challenging for some and I might get a backlash. But, hey, I know that one. It wouldn’t be the first time I’ve said something some others might not like.
Your life is far too precious to waste WHATEVER the colour of your skin…
And, to challenge institutionalised racism in our generation, join me in proclaiming, shouting, screaming and yelling with our sisters and brothers that BLACK LIVES MATTER!
PS Please pass this on to one or two women who would benefit from reading this. And encourage them to join my private Facebook group Wild Courageous Women
Photo by Derek Thomson on Unsplash