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Each journey begins with a single step... Two kiwis escaping from the island to explore strange new worlds and boldly go where thousands have gone before... . .


NEW ZEALAND | Friday, 19 May 2017 | Views [384]

Apparently I'm 'WHITE', it's not a thing I have noticed myself much but lately it is hitting me often in the face especially on social media. I haven't noticed colour really in relation to people, friends and family, but I'm being asked to more and more.
I am so white it must exist in an aura around me, it must stand out like a sore thumb, maybe it's the way I speak or body language? Whatever it is it makes me the recipient of racism. Shut out of conversations or not included because of my colour, to me this always demonstrates a lack of understanding of me by the perpetrator. I have born the insult and carried on. Still these moments happen probably a couple of times in a year. What if it were to happen every day? That is what the problem is - to lots of people this happens often every day, that is lots of times in every single day of their life.
How can they sustain continuously rising above that? I confess it would wear me out and make me angry. It would affect my decision making, my reactions, my choices, my friends and my family.
I don't want to be that person. I don't want to put that pressure on another.
I live in possibly one of the most equal (racially speaking) countries in the world and it is clear we are not all equal here. I have a good life as do many of my friends (white, brown etc) I think i assume that since certain things are available to me and therefore others the reason others haven't reached my standard of living is their choice. And that's true but it doesn't explore what choice is. Behind choice is experiences, education, intellect, ability /disability, upbringing, cultural heritage and expectations, self image, I could go on and on. If we are equal why am I  more likely to succeed if I am white? Why more likely to be in jail, less educated or die early, for example, if not? It is easy to judge and make generalisations, less easy to realise there are factors going back generations that influence current choices. Strengths in past generations that are stumbling blocks now. Past world's that are colliding with future ones.
I was surprised when in conversation a friend said to me 'I always look around for another brown face at gatherings'. Do I I thought? Do I look for white faces? Do I look for brown? Am I allowed to? If I am white and my comfort level is with non-white that is no guarantee that comfort is achieved in non-white company is it. Do I feel more comfortable with white faces? Is that how it is for my friend?
White and non-white. I hate that wording, that division, that categorisation. No boxes please! All very fine to say. Less easy to live.
So what can I do and is that what I am doing? If not gathering knowledge about another culture then perhaps at least the understanding that every person has different experiences, desires, upbringing. The realisation that my way is not necessarily another's way. Sometimes people act or react in a way that I cannot fathom based on my experiences and knowledge, I don't know theirs, I may not ever be able to understand but I can accept their right to that action. To not ever buy into jokes or conversations that belittle others or another race. Be aware of discomfort with others and question it's origin, if it's racially based sort it out.
Do not lose myself in the pursuit of understanding others but also strengthen my sense of self so that I can be an advocate for equality.
So blah blah blah but I often feel lost, at sea, unable to navigate this Territory. I want to move to the countryside and meditate far from the madding crowd. How can I hope to get it right. Will I ever be accepted unlabelled. Will I ever accept others unlabelled.
Life is for learning...

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