trust the experts, already.

Kia Ora friends.

So, I’ve overheard a few comments and had enough conversations to make me want to share this notion publicly … it’s about racism, and political correctness, and adapting behaviour. It’s also about white ladies thinking they can decide what racism is, what an appropriate accommodation might be to facilitate goodness for all, or whether it even exists in NZ (*It DOES).

(I’m sure white dudes do it too, but my analogy works best with ladies, so bear with)

To those nice white ladies I say:”Honey. I’m a nice white lady too. And I gotta tell you, you are not the best person to decide when protests have gone on long enough or what is an acceptable level of outrage about issues of race. Here’s the thing: y’know how some blokes will stare at your boobs when they’re talking to you? Hell, some blokes will stare at your boobs even when they’re not talking to you. You know what that’s like? To have dudes just stare at your boobs? “

Yes, yes. The ladies will say. For boob-starers are everyhwere.

Now, if I was to ask many men to assess whether they think women experience frequent boob staring, or if boob-staring is a problem, indeed if an individual friend of theirs is a boob-starer, those men would be likely to downplay or deny the issue. Because THEY ARE NOT THE ONES HAVING THEIR BOOBS STARED AT.

So, my dear white lady, for you to question a person’s experience of racism (or their expression of outrage at the existence of racism) just because you have not tasted the foul effects of that racism yourself, is as idiotic as inviting a man to decide whether boob staring is real, or problematic, or how annoyed women should be by it.

Trust women. Our boobs are frequently stared at. We are the experts here.

Trust people of colour. They experience racism. They are the experts about this.

I’m not trying to be glib or silly, I am truly trying to find an analogy that my people – the nice white ladies – can understand.

While we are trusting the experts in the respective fields, can we have a moment of silence for the death of sanity in the USA? Ay yi yi.

I’ll go back to my Results chapter in a jiff. Very challenging/humbling, as I am not a fluent speaker of Statistics, or a terribly proficient writer of code. Baby steps, snail’s pace.

Meanwhile, a few links to enjoy, if you’re still with me!

This is a wonderful website called “our words matter”, which is a collection of useful ideas and writing about what’s afoot in Aotearoa/New Zealand. Also homegrown, here is the reaction from Sensible Screen Use to the Reboot report I posted a while back.

Looks like Facebook are FINALLY getting served a tiny amount of comeuppance following their years of divisive nonsense. Here is a piece about resignations within the company, and just within the last 24 hours, more and more companies are pulling advertising. About time.

This is a li’l something from Harvard about a silver lining in the pandemic cloud: closer relationships between dads and their kids, which is good news, because elsewhere we have learned that increased parental stress points to less effective safeguards around screen use.

Some satire here, from the good folk at McSweeney’s … all parents of toddlers (past or present) will relate to this. THIS is a link to an article I wrote for OHbaby! about doing more by doing less, and this link to the Plum Village whānau will give you opportunities to join meditation practice with experts, which will help with … everything.

compassion and social distancing

For a while there, the public health professionals were trying to amend the term “social distancing” and replace it with “physical distancing”. This was an acknowledgement of the fact that we are inherently social l’il mammals and we needed to prioritise our emotional bonds even as we severed physical ones.

Anyway, I’m very physically distanced from the pain in the USA and simultaneously socially tied and connected. My husband was born there, my daughters are hybrid citizens. One of my dearest mama friends is Minnesotan, we danced and laughed in Minneapolis when I was 23. I had no idea, then, how advantageous my fair complexion was as I moved through the world. I wouldn’t hear the phrase “white privilege” until 1999, which was years later.

Party over, oops … out of time.

As a sidenote, all hail the Program for Infant Toddler Care in California. I was lucky enough to do their training in the late 90s. I remember a photocopied handout, “unpacking the invisible backpack of white privilege”, a solid 10-15 years before the concept began to be explored in the wider world. Early childhood teachers have long been the avant garde practitioners of that which will prove to be even more important than we could have quantified.

Anyway, so I”m rambling on because I’m in pain and a bit muddled.

Here’s what I think we could do. And by “we” I mean the work-from-home mums, the mums on the opposite side of the world to the protests.

If we can afford it, we can chip in a few bucks to help one of the organisations supporting those making a stand for justice in the USA. Here is a link to fundraising campaigns supporting bail for protestors in these various cities. This is the Action Center on Race & the Economy, they highlight issues of racial injustice, highlighting the need for wall st. accountability. Just a couple of options.

And if you are someone who works with kids (or if you have kids), be even more ready than usual to have some conversations with them about race. This is an awesome resource from the National Museum of African American History & Culture, and here’s some more ideas, … um … y’know … that’s us.

Then we gotta surf that line between staying informed about the world’s events, (even if via satirical works that are brilliant and hilarious and tragic … like THIS heartbreaking, knee-slapping McSweeney’s gem. Or THIS one)(or, for flip’s sake, THIS ONE) and keeping a lid on telly, internet, smartphone for reasons of self preservation. If no news is good news, how much time should we really devote to the news?

(not to mention the fact that we are still having our data mined, pandemic or no, race riots nonewithstanding. The world might be on fire, but too much time on devices is still messing with kids’ minds. In fact, it’s arguably worse, because so many kids are online even more during lockdowns all over the world – homeschooling or recreating. This has led to a terrifying increase in online sexual exploitation of children , among other ills. And we cannot really trust them (tech companies), because they keep proving themselves to be such snakes. ) Sigh.

Mind our influences. Listen to beautiful music, watch some stand up comedy, go for a blimmin walk. Support your favourite online physical (& therefore mental!) health expert. I love this local gal, and I love this local gal, and this one, all of whom have made switches to some kind of online delivery to support their communities. AND I love this international practitioner of strength, who has always had an online community! Thanks to all the people helping people to keep moving! You too, Adriene!

But yeah, if you can, donate.