Updated: Apr 27, 2021
The pandemic has taught us many things, silence being one of them.
Hell is paved with good intentions, as they say.
It's great if you want to help the BIPOC community. The best way you can help is by listening.
Lean in. Really, listen.
In Clubhouse the other day, a survivor of female genital mutilation spoke up about her crusade to end the barbaric practice. When she finished speaking, one of the moderators, white and from America, spoke. She said, "Oh I used to research on that topic, I know a lot about it." She then spoke about it for several minutes without deferring to the original speaker as the subject matter expert. That's the kind of subtle white privilege that many people ignore.
Another similar situation arose in Clubhouse (I'm spending most of my time there these days). This time the room was centered around Indigenous issues, and most of the audience members were Indigenous except for one white woman on the stage. She has a tourism business in Wyoming, she says, and they love working with Indigenous people to put on shows for her customers. You could hear the collective jaw drop in that room, wow.
You know what they say about best intentions being the pavement on the road to hell. Incidents like these brought to mind the need for more silence on the part of people who know they have privilege but haven't yet understood how to recognize it in their daily lives. It's not meant as an insult to otherwise well-meaning people. Someday soon we will reach the point where we don't have to baby adults about how to be respectful, but de-colonization is a process.