I have long hair. My girls have long hair. And as you can imagine, when cleaning, there are a lot of long hairs, throughout the house. But cleaning long hair, in my estimation, is fairly easy to deal with it. If it is a strand, it can be picked up and put in the garbage. Multiple strains; either swept or vacuumed up.
However, short hair is a different kettle of fish. It is much more plentiful, harder to detect and not easy to pick up. Many times, sweeping and vacuuming, still result in uncaught little pieces of hair. It is frustrating, because all of your efforts can be for naught, especially when cleaning, as little hairs, can always be found.
And so for my analogy. Overt racism is much like long hair. You see it for what it is, and you can either ignore it or you can dispose of it. Either way, it is apparent.
Short hair – much like microaggressions, are challenging to deal with. You can spend a lot of time trying to address them, feel like you are making progress and then, there are always a few, hiding or challenging to dislodge.
However, microaggressions make you paranoid and constantly parsing, to determine if what you are experiencing, is just in your mind, or is actually occurring. And they are draining and insidious. And so what do you do? Do you ignore them, confront each one – what is the solution?
The one thing that I have learned, is that people can only make change or learn something new, if that desire is within. And what causes that change? My conclusion -that in order to stay with the times, you have to adapt – out of necessity. For example switching from paying for items with cash, to using a debit card. Probably not ideal for someone not trusting in technology. But as a result of ease, most stores having this technology and especially during the height of COVID, most stores not accepting cash, then change has to be adapted. It is a necessity.
And the same for racist ideology and microaggressions – once there is a change in society, where this type of behaviour is not rewarded, but instead, results in open reprimand for the actions (Amy Cooper from Central Park), only then, will change foster and develop. Because the necessity will be to discard this type of behaviour. Calling out racism in your restaurant, so as not to lose a large majority of your customers – again an economic necessity is driving this change.
Racism is a kaleidoscope. It is always changing and moving and having different permutations. It is only now that we are staring to address and right some of the wrongs transpiring. For instance language – realtors will no longer use the word Master Bedroom, but primary bedroom, given its roots in slavery. How does one describe racist language, which has just been incorporated into normal parlance and only now, is being analysed and being addressed as wrong? Blacklist is another example.
It is such an interesting time to see the move for change. The generation pushing for this change is making such a difference and I thank them for their courage, their voice and their need to make sure that long standing, institutional wrongs, are being addressed and removed or changed. In a year, where our hope has been challenged, it is nice to see hope blooming!
But that’s just one Diva’s view.