A Clearer View
A guest post by Ketil, first published in 2016
Who am I in this world? White. Male. Norwegian. Privileged.
Dionne and I once did a test to check our privilege using the questions in this video by Marquita Thomas, needless to say I ended up in the next room whilst she hardly moved forward at all.
Give it a try here >
To reach towards clarity is for me to be curious about the world around me, moving outside my own situation, to broaden my perspective, and hopefully gain knowledge and wisdom.
Often this means challenging what you thought you knew, and realising that what the truth was based on, was a rather muddled world view and re-written history put into place by those who benefitted (and still benefit) from the system. (Follow my journey with The Other Book Club here.)
But how can we see from a different perspective and hear experiences from Other voices if they are not represented in the arts and the news? Social media and the web is perhaps an answer to that, but will not reach the people already benefitting from their privilege in the same way. Therefore it is essential that someone like me checks my privilege and explores and listens and learns and supports Other perspectives not represented conveniently in my face by big art institutions, news agencies or others.
HISTORY IS IN OUR FACE
History is present. Systems and attitudes put in place hundreds of years ago affect our daily lives today. Some might conveniently say it was not their personal choice for events such as colonialism and slavery to take place, but the systems and attitudes are very much present and alive, and it is important to acknowledge that.
Especially for someone like me. White. Male. Norwegian. To be a white ally. It’s important for me to consistently challenge people like me to see more clearly, to help to expand the horizons of white people who benefit from the system to do better, and also consider that by not participating and taking action, you are contributing to the problem.
Also, it’s important for me to be clear on my solidarity with those who are already affected by systemic racism and live with these attitudes and experiences every single day. To speak up but not talk over, listen and ask how I can support and take action.
It is hard to move outside your own mind sometimes. Our own personal problems often overwhelm us and distract us, like heavy rain on the wind screen or an annoying pebble in your shoe.
Finding greater clarity in how the world works has given me a new perspective. I see lack of diversity and representation in films, art galleries, music and news stories. And I am curious about history that has been hidden from us and re-written to hide unjust, like this article on how Britain benefitted from slavery.
I believe for someone like me, to open up, outside my conveniently positioned status as white, male, Norwegian, is essential to progress and achieve clarity in this world.