Sunday, June 07, 2020

I share deep stuff from tough parts of my learning

Imagine ......

A beautiful young woman stands
in the doorway of the room
you are sitting in.
Her name is Olga from
Novosibirsk, Russia. 

To you and me she looks good, 
attractive and we wouldn’t know where she came from. 
Nor her attitudes, accent, nationality, background - 
until she speaks and we communicate in some way.

Believe me, 
Olga was living in a project I was responsible for 
and she was volunteering on a children's holiday programme - 
she was great!

Another beautiful young woman stands in the doorway and 
immediately there is a different reading in our 
awareness and 
Before this person meets us, and 
before we get to know each other and
before how she relates, 
shares her accent or attitude, 
we see the young woman is black. 

As a white person and being brought up in an all white town - 
I worked for many years in all white workplaces. 
EVERY community PROJECT.

Being in an all white community can blinker - 
it did for for years.
We can be prejudiced without any awareness.

When I was a child in St. Helens, Lancashire, 
my dad always called me a ‘Nignog’! In a fun way. 

When MrsBeautiful & myself became Houseparents 
in a Young Offenders Unit 
(She 22 - me 26) we met connected/loved/ worked with black teens/families for the first time.
I was shocked to discover that ‘nignog’ was not a friendly, superficial, jokey insult - 
it was an abbreviation of nigger/golliwog!

I learned so much in that context. 
a few years later, on my youth worker journey,
I learned more & more in The London Borough of Newham over 10 years - Inner City London.
I worked with teenagers and professional colleagues 
who were black humans -  in great numbers.

I attended training courses led by black trainers.
My eyes were opened (and still learning)
I didn't know what I didn't know.

I need to learn so much more here and now 
it is so easy to be prejudiced - 
even racist. 
(I hate it, I hate it!)

When I lived in Londons East End 
once our front door 
was sprayed with the letters 'N.F'.  
Years on, we worked and lived in a YMCA in Romford, 
where my car was sprayed with big letters,
'N.F’. (National Front - an 'alt right' organisation known for racist values & violence)

I feel disturbed writing this because I truly hate racism 
and I feel uncomfortable hating anything!
I don’t hate the persons - 
'We can see a persons behaviour
but we can’t see their journey’.

I was interviewed some time ago by a young Asian woman 
doing research into racism. 
I talked about this stuff - and more.
It also made me think! 
Feel! Determined! Committed!

Reason for writing this?

I feel we have to watch it!
We can display attitudes to others of a different skin colour without knowing it. 
(Skin colour - accent  - nationality - cultural norms)

So I write and ask us all to consider being sensitive to this issue 
whatever our skin colour.

Feel our feelings.
Check how we feel when we see someone.
When we talk - to someone.
Then ask - self - am I using the right attitude?

You may or may not put your hand up to a faith. 
(Would you?)
The YMCA, who I have worked with for many years, is world wide.
Many races, languages, colours, faiths and accents!
Nation & European wide since I went freelance,
undertakes lots of wondrous work - worldwide.
Their International Youth Work bring youth together from many nations & influences
and gets these BHP’s to connect and learn beautiful values at a crucial age.
We need to be striving for growth in this racist/prejudiced world - as in all the things we do!