About reflective articles
Reflective articles are personal responses by selected attendees to the 2021 Racial Equity workshops led by Nikkia Young and on the intersection of DDP with racial and social justice.The purpose of the reflective articles is to spark inner reflection. If you are feeling moved reading them, we encourage you to journal, meditate and be with the important feelings being shared. Sitting with and truly engaging with our responses and emotions is part of the process.
Please be aware that they may contain sensitive anecdotes and/or stories that may be upsetting and re-triggering.
All opinions expressed in the following piece belong to the author(s).
The Cycle of Pain, Rage, Fear and Hope
I would like to start and finish this cycle with Hope. Maybe to protect myself, maybe so you will keep reading, and maybe because I still feel a deep need to protect others, as this makes me feel safer.
DDPI has stated that it is on a new journey towards racial equity and social justice reform along with many organizations worldwide. Now, is when the window of change is open.
My pain, guilt and shame start in two places. I am a transracial adoptee from a historically “developing world” country where my birth mother was too young and fearful to tell anyone or care for me, so I landed with White parents from the US who wanted children and had resources. Thus, I have been bodily aware of racial injustice since before I can remember but have done very little to change it until this past year. Even now, I fear that I am fading, getting demoralized by all the chronic pushback.
I know that Whiteness runs deep. I was taught that being more “White” got me further ahead in the world. Taught to hide and fear my non-White parts in order to fit in, belong and have value in White spaces. It takes actively re-enculturating myself as best I can to integrate my two names.
I have also learned that I am not fully safe in Non-White spaces either, where I am ostracized and othered at times and fear offending and hurting those who are further marginalized than I, because my relative “Whiteness” can rear its ugly head. I fear not supporting someone, connecting more deeply to their experience and leaving them unseen and abandoned. I feel the Sting of shame physically piercing my center.
I cycle between the pain and rage I feel seeing how poverty has caused millions of children to be separated from their parents, Refugees fleeing from Ethiopia, Palestinians being bombed, Asians under attack and thousands of Black Americans being killed and jailed for minor offenses their White counterparts never have to worry about. (Just to name a few). There is deep rage that it brings me that other people are not moved to pain, anger and ACTION.
The more I sit with it, the more I feel afraid. Afraid for myself, afraid for All Non-White Europeans who walk through the world with a label on their face. INFERIOR.
Yet, I land back towards hope. I wonder, if I can shift from no action to action, if I can forgive myself when my Whiteness blinds me, can’t we all? Is it really about ALWAYS getting it right, by perfectly seeing the other’s experience, or is it actually more about listening? Deeply valuing the lived experience that we cannot know, above our own, until all humans can walk through the world with the assumed respect that the White skin provides. Can’t it be as simple as using PACE and acknowledging that a rupture has occurred, not getting defensive and using that ‘Sting’ as a Gift to make change?
Publisher: ddpnetwork.org (May 2021)
Article Copyright © ES, 2021