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).
Hand in Hand, Purse First
In November 2020 I joined RESJ with a cognitive understanding of some elements of racism, an awareness that my understanding was limited… but thought I understood enough. In theory we all know this journey could be hard but I believed it would be fine for me.
I did not imagine hurting other people to the point where they were angry and frustrated with me. I did not imagine feeling hurt, sadness, confusion and destabilisation. I did not imagine being grateful that these things happened because they shoved me into seeing what freedom can look like.
This is not only about distinct issues of racism or ablism or ageism or sexism or sexualityism or genderism or etc. My understanding that these ways of oppression share deep roots and were/are not accidental continues to deepen. I have many feelings about that. Late to the table, I feel an urgency both in the wider work and also in me personally.
My journey aside, commitment to this work tells me that the best way to go is together, not separately. When two bruised people touch, they can both feel pain. I have now learned how careful I need to be. When that realisation struck, I felt like a bull who had stampeded into the china shop with no way out that didn’t smash more plates. So I am trying to find ways to be gentle, understanding there may be bruises I cannot see and respecting people’s choices about how they want to heal or be left alone. My bruises come from my own story, my non-mainstream identities but also from being an ignorant white guy who grew up with dominant, stupid beliefs resulting in semi-conscious fear that don’t make sense.
Out of these experiences i have grown less afraid of many things. And I didn’t expect that. I am also feeling pretty fierce about quite a few things — standard fierce AND queer fierce for your information! When people talk about their power, I guess that feels like my power right now. Obviously, there is no turning back, so the choice is either alone or together and I know alone won’t work for me. So let’s head out, “purse first”* and hand in hand.
*ref. Bob The Drag Queen
Publisher: DDP Network (Sep 2021)
Article Copyright © BH, 2021