Tag Archive: race


White people of South Africa. The time is now!

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Yesterday i shared a status by my friend Sindile which is pretty much going viral which is excellent to see as it is such an important prophetic word especially for the white people across South Africa to really get. This is the summation extract from that post: Continue reading

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It has been a heart-breaking day…

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i’ve known Sindile for close to a year and a half now i think. Known as in i’ve never met him in real life [yet – hopefully remedy that in the next ten days!] but he has guest posted on my blog a number of times and he has this way of blogging within his Facebook status which inspires and challenge and calls to action and pauses and so much more on so many occasions.  Continue reading

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i crawled into bed sometime after 2 this morning… Exhausted, challenged, frustrated, reflective, inspired, hopeful. It had been a long, packed day.

The night before had seen 11 of us sharing a meal and then sitting outside in our tiny courtyard, wrestling with the idea of what it means to Live Simply. Continue reading

 

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That is the refrain i hear quite a lot from many white people when it comes to issues of reconciliation and marches and freedom and South Africa:

Can we just please stop saying it’s about race?

So i thought let’s give that a try. And the way i want to do that is by telling a few stories. Now try and not get distracted by the kind of message you think i want to suggest with each story. First read it and respond just as a story. And then we’ll examine the responses. Continue reading

How would you fill those blanks in?

My good friend Sarah Bessey [slash i read her blog and she once tweetered me] has literally just released her latest book, ‘Out of Sorts: Making Peace with an Evolving Faith’ which you can buy over here [and probably should!]

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Today Sarah is hosting a synchroblog where she invited close personal friends [slash anyone who stumbled upon her blog] to write a post based on the above title.So i thought i would take her up on it: Continue reading

Dom Helder Cavara quote

The past two weeks have been an incredible time.

Yes, some of the conversations on Social Media got a little aggro, but there were also some really incredible interactions, both online and off and it feels like the #FeesMustFall movement and events really got a lot of people thinking. And introduced many new people to some of the conversations we have been having on Privilege and Restitution and Racism and more.

There were a number of exciting “AHA!” moments i got to witness. Someone posted on my Facebook wall, “I finally get what white privilege is all about. Thanks for persevering.” and there were also a couple of moments within back and forth arguments where suddenly the light seemed to go on. I get it. Which is really encouraging for those of us who have been bravely soldiering on [And it is bravely sometimes as people who don’t yet ‘get it’ when it comes to privilege and race conversations tend to for the most part respond quite defensively and at times personally] calling on our white friends and acquaintances in particular to take a step towards Being a More Effective Ally and realising that as long as one suffers we all suffer.

BEFORE YOU RUSH IN

i attended a workshop run by Caroline Powell from the Warehouse the other day and found it extremely helpful.

She spoke about how we tend to rush towards formulas and yet where people and complicated situations are involved, formulas don’t often cut it.

She also pointed out that whenever there is an AWAKENING [that Aha! i finally get it moment] we usually want to jump to IMPLEMENTATION [What can i do? i need to do something. Let me do something. Surely doing anything is better than doing nothing? On that, no, doing something bad, hurtful, oppressive, damaging is not as good as doing nothing]. Then shared this chart, not as a formula that is always going to work neatly and comfortably from one space to the next, but that gives a helpful idea of some other steps that might be really helpful once the AWAKENING has occurred.

AWAKENING – AHA! moment – i finally get white privilege, see the racism in me, etc

LISTENING – before jumping to action, let me listen, to really try and hear what is being said

DISCERNMENT – i’ve noticed something, i’ve listened, let me try and understand the bigger picture of what is happening and what is necessary and perhaps what my place and role in this can be – this process will often happen with other people who better understand the context and situation and have more wisdom to offer

PLANNING – Instead of rushing in with some action, let me come up with a plan, and do the necessary and important groundwork to that will lead towards that plan being effectively achieved

IMPLEMENTATION – Do you see the difference? All of those steps between AWAKENING and IMPLEMENTATION which all increase the likelihood of my IMPLEMENTATION being effective and sustainable and relevant

REFLECTING – Follow IMPLEMENTATION with REFLECTION to ensure that what you did actually achieved the hope for results or was what was needed or helpful. This step may lead you towards more:

AWAKENING

As Caroline said to us, this is not necessarily a smooth one leads to two leads to three cycle. But the different steps there can be really powerful in terms of making sure that any involvement you have, is a positive and hopefully powerful thing.

If you were someone that had an AHA! moment in the last two weeks or so in terms of this conversation, please share it with us and give us a glimpse into what you think helped lead you to that point. Which of the steps above would you say is a current weakness of yours which you need to work a little harder at?

[For some Practical Suggestions on getting hands on involved in Restitution, click here] 

oscar

Oscar Romero

Continuing my series looking at how white people can be more effective allies to their friends of colour as we seek reconciliation and restitution and try to see South Africa head more towards where it should be…

How to be a better ally text

The title of this post might seem like a bit of a contradiction having just written one called Move to the Back, but it’s not.

Last night i was lamenting to my wife, tbV, that life as an attempted white ally can feel a little lonely and confusing. i don’t believe it must be left to our black friends to lead the way in how we ally [as so many of them are tired of trying to explain to yet another white person the concepts of white privilege, restitution and so much more] but at the same time i don’t see many of my white friends engaging with these things in the same way [i am very grateful for friends at the Warehouse for example who engage with these things on really deep levels in other significant ways] so a lot of it feels like making it up on the spot and hoping i get it right. i believe that my black friends will feel the freedom and invitation to jump in and let me know when they think i get it wrong [yes Nkosi? Sindile? Felicity? Linde? Tsholo?] but it’s not fair to expect them to wage this battle.

Then today i jumped on and saw my friend Anne GOING OFF on this very topic and it gave me such a sense of relief. i’m not alone. Her post was a little more colourful and in your face than i think mine ever are [watch out Facebook!] and i have asked her to let me share some of it so hopefully we will get to see that later this week.

My point being that for other white people who understand white privilege and get the need to educate those who don’t and understand the need for us to be listening and learning more than we speak and try to lead, you need to step out of the shadows into the light. It is great when you favourite and like and even share, but we desperately need you to add your own words and voice to it [Thank you Alexa Matthews, Duncan Hobbs, Anne Katherine…] to show that these are not just the crazy ramblings of one or two libtards i think they call me these days.

hiding

i need it. And i imagine it would be a huge boost to the community of those we are allying ourselves to, to know they had more than one or two people they could count on. It is scary and confusing and it feels like there is a lot of pressure because of what is riding on this all to get it right. But we can’t let that stop us. We need to educate ourselves and make sure we get the facts and the stories right so that we can speak with conviction and authority. But we cannot stay silent any longer.

Too many did during apartheid.

Too many did during #RhodesMustFall

How many confrontations must happen before we decide we need to get in there and show what we are standing for?

Let’s do this.

[For the next part of this series on Just Saying No!, click here]

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