I didn’t just wake up and realize there are injustices in the world, and that some of us are more valued than others.
You are becoming aware of some of your advantages.
We may have not understood, what privilege meant or knew how to express our experience, but we knew we were and are the “other”.
Privilege is inherited from centuries of racism, prejudice, and the unequal distribution of wealth and lifesaving resources like healthcare.
Something that is considered a basic human right, healthcare. I witnessed and experienced first-hand, the consequences of not having access to adequate healthcare. This inequality will affect our well-being for the rest of our lives.
You may come from a world in which your character, abilities, and intentions were rarely questioned. Your experiences and how the world views you, makes it a norm for you to speak up, be assertive, and confident. Imagine experiencing the opposite and being an adult that seeks outside approval to feel valued, competent, and worthy. Someone who always works harder than most, to keep a friendship and fears being alone. That colleague that works themselves to exhaustion, just to be noticed and maybe get a chance.
Imagine being silent because the world has told you repeatedly, “you’re less than, something is wrong with you, you don’t belong here, you are replaceable, you are meant to succeed in certain things, you are a lot, why are you yelling? Are you angry? What’s wrong with you? What are you?…….”
See, even if we all came from poverty and lacked generational wealth, you still will never know what it feels like to be us.
I’m not just now becoming aware that injustices exist. As Whoopi Goldberg said, “I’m not becoming woke, I’ve never been asleep.”, and I’m exhausted.
What I am gaining is self-awareness, self-compassion, self-reflection, self-acceptance, and self-love.
I am now aware, of what my experiences have done to my views of the world and how I view myself in relation to others.
I am aware of how these experiences have affected my spiritual, mental, and physical health.
I am aware of how my stereotypes are used directly and indirectly, consciously, or subconsciously, to limit my success and general well-being.
I’m aware that when I speak up it may make you uncomfortable—I’ve lived uncomfortable in my skin for 35 years. So, when you say we are becoming “woke”, remember that your revelations and “ah ha” moments, may be someone’s reality.
Be willing to learn from those you want to become an ally to. Remember everyone’s experience is different, so please don’t use me as an example, for everyone that looks like me.
Be willing to listen, understand, and empathize with us. Envision what your life, would’ve been like if you walked in our shoes.
Only when we are willing to listen and learn can we truly be “woke”. If you’re doing most of the talking, you are not listening. If you are not taking action, you are being complacent. If you are not even aware, you are contributing to the system that values some and devalues others.
See below for more information:
What Does it Mean to Be “Woke”?
Let’s get to the root of racial injustice | Megan Ming Francis | TEDxRainier
People of Colour From Around the World Respond to “White”
Netflix Culture: Allyship