Keynote speaker Eddie Moore Jr. with symposium organizing team members Dolana Mogadime, centre, and Kim Radersma.
I was at a conference this past weekend about White Privilege. I found out about it the day before and decided…almost reluctantly to attend. I was reluctant because I wasn’t sure if I really wanted to “go there”. Not to St. Catherines where the conference was being held but I didn’t want to go into discussing this challenging topic.
I used to be passionate about being an advocate for Black empowerment and education. My experience growing up made me super sensitive to some of the negative experiences Black people and other people of colour have experienced in the past and continue to experience today in a variety of ways. Everything shifted though as my focus changed from looking at this life experience solely for what it was in this place and time to seeing it as multidimensional and on a continuum.
I also stopped seeing myself as separate from other people. I began to adopt the concept that “you are me and I am you”. This view forced me to be more sensitive to the differences of others. I also decided that it was my soul that had chosen these particular life experiences before I incarnated into this life that I am currently living. My soul decided on my gender, sexuality, abilities and experiences as well as my race. My family members are part of my extensive soul group and together we agreed to play certain roles in this lifetime.
If this sounds kooky, that’s ok. What this belief did for me was to help me to accept the way things were and to look at everything as something I could learn from if I decided to accept the experience and not resist what was occurring. It definitely shifted my perspective of life in general and towards the people I encounter on a day to day basis.
The conference reminded me that the past has a habit of repeating itself and that when we think something is different or new, we only need look back and we will undoubtedly see that it seems eerily familiar. I won’t even begin to point out that Trump seems like another politician from history. Let’s just leave it at that.
The last workshop I attended at the symposium was all about looking at our personal histories to identify not only how we have been privileged…or not…but it also discussed how this attempt to dig deep might actually trigger necessary healing and ignite an understanding of the people in our lives who had the biggest impact on how we developed into the people we are today.
The presenter specifically discussed getting to “know” our grandmothers. She was candid about her own personal history allowing the audience a peak into her not so perfect life. I appreciated her vulnerability because it is in that, that we, as the witness, can feel safe in our own dysfunction, recognizing that we are not alone.
I share this with you because I choose to look at everyone as kind until they show me another side of themselves. I choose to believe that there is more good than bad in this world even though the media would have us believe differently. I also believe that the most significant thing we can do, for someone who is sharing with us their own life experience, is to listen and believe what they say.
I spent my life feeling shut down and diminished who I was so I could be what other people wanted me to be…or what I thought they wanted me to be. I have carried the burden attached to the fact that my skin is brown. I have felt pain and hurt associated with societal stereotypes and expectations that had no reflection on my own life and caused me to have to prove that I was not what people thought of me. That is exhausting people!
I share this with you because I was reminded that differences are beautiful and amazing. Personal life experiences should be shared and respected. People are awesome and if you took a moment, you would find that we share so many more similarities than we do differences. If there is something you don’t like about a person or even a group of people than the choice you have available to you is to not be bothered with it. Let them be. Let them do what makes them happy. Stop complaining and comparing…stop judging and excluding.
I am you and you are me. We are all connected. We ALL come from the same source. Let what we do be generated by LOVE and LIGHT!