We should care about our skin but not the colour
Writing about tips for winter skin care doesn’t seem important right now. Our local and global communities are experiencing life challenges as we have never before seen in our generation.
Here in Australia after a very long, harsh drought we started the year with the worst fire season in years - the fires burnt an estimated 18.6 million hectares and destroyed over 5,900 buildings and killed at least 34 people. An estimated one billion animals have been killed and some endangered species may be driven to extinction.
And then even before we had an opportunity to regroup and recover a global pandemic was thrust upon us – over 7.3 million confirmed cases of Covid19 and 416,000 deaths around the world so far, countries going into lock down, images of mass graves and news of failing economies. Phrases such as social isolation, the new normal and working from home became part of everyday conversation. Now, just as we are tentatively emerging from our homes we sadly witnessed the death of George Floyd and the escalating global response to another unprovoked and unnecessary death of a person of colour.
Personally, I am of Irish and German heritage. I grew up in the 70’s & 80’s, my parents best-friend was one of Australia’s Stolen Generation of Aboriginal Children – to me he was just Les. The colour of his skin and that of others in my small country town really didn’t register with me. But yes, we watched black face comedy on TV and laughed at inappropriate jokes with racist slurs. This stopped when we were educated about racism and being more inclusive and how these actions can offend and oppress others. So now in midlife I thought I was doing ok and my attitude to other cultures was one of wonder and acceptance. Yet, this past fortnight I had to learn a new term – white privilege. I have learnt and accepted that I have benefited from white privilege and that it does not mean I am racist.
We must see further change, this is why there is so much unrest in the world.
I don’t have the answers, but I am willing to listen and learn. This is what I learnt this week on how to educate myself about white privilege and how my fellow Indigenous Australians feel –
Carly Findlay OAM on White Privilege: As the word 'privilege' is often associated with the upper classes; people who went to private schools, those who got a car for their sweet 16th, those who have hired 'help' or people whose parents paid their rent throughout university, many white people who come from low socioeconomic backgrounds negate the concept of white privilege.
White privilege doesn't mean that you are born into money, that's class privilege.
White privilege means that you are born into the racial 'norm', another kind of privilege. A privilege where you can;
- Turn on the television or open to the front page of the paper and see people of your race widely represented.
- If you wish, you can arrange to be in the company of people of your race most of the time.
- If you buy “flesh” coloured items like band-aids or stockings, they will more or less match your skin tone.
- If you were able to use the original suite of emoji's, the 'thumbs up' or 'peace sign' hand gestures represented your race.
- You can easily find picture books, greeting cards, dolls, toys and magazines featuring people of your race.
Being born white means that you were born into a system that validates and reaffirms that you are socially included - and being socially included, is a very valuable privilege.
And lastly, unlike class, a person cannot hide their race (See the rest of Carly’s post on Facebook)
“You should know that ... Acknowledging white privilege isn't enough to end it"
"Because so few people acknowledge the existence of white privilege, and because it can feel like such an overwhelming awakening to finally see it, many people feel that the work is done simply by acknowledging it. While this is an important first step, it doesn't actually do much to reduce it, or to eventually end it.
Privilege should be distributed in order to actually spread the social, political and economic opportunities and advantages to other groups. For example, rather than just acknowledging the existence of Indigenous arts organisations, using the resources of Indigenous peak bodies and the skills of their artists will be active in making change. The same principle goes for actively using Indigenous run businesses and distributing the wealth of employment. Also, having equal representation in the media and advertising. And distributing the wealth of policy and decision making.”(Carly Findlay)
Aussie Bronze supports the Black Lives Matter movement and commits to helping promote and educate ourselves and our community.