Unlearning Normality


A hybrid personal documentation for understanding racism, seeing privilege and unlearning normality as whiteness.

Created as part of Visibility: Diversity and Design at the University of Applied Sciences Europe.
Unlearning Normality

A hybrid personal documentation of learnings through understanding racism, seeing privilege and unlearning normality for a white person.

Seeing Whiteness

Forget the KKK, forget the Donald Trump, forget that one family member. They are a problem, but they are not my problem. To understand the powers at play, to see the world as it is where democracy, equality and freedom are not status quos but objectives, I first have to recognise that I have a lack of perspective on the idea of whiteness, and all that is associated with it. My normality is based on whiteness, my normality has made the lives of a black person anything but normal.
I’ve learned it in history class, how Columbus discovered new land, how Britain and other European powers colonised other lands, how spices and tea were traded around the world. How is it that we then forget that the life and the world as we know it depended on collecting new, alien and foreign things? The seemingly unlimited choices that define capitalism and consumerism is based on immigrants’ cultures, education, knowledge, heritage and arts? The idea of a normal day of my life has become expectations we fail to see the opposite side of it all. When we have taken all we can to build a life we want, what have the lives of those we’ve taken from become?

I find it hard to imagine, and that’s exactly the problem. Trevor Noah does this bit where he recalls a man he saw on TV, ranting about his hatred for Mexican immigrants, calling them the all too familiar names used by that someone in the Whitehouse, and then calling on his buddies because it’s apparently Taco Tuesday.

I know that is a comedic take on a serious issue, but the fact that something as obvious as Taco can become invisible or normal for that white man, imagine the millions of other things we take for granted. 

Here’s a monologue from his Netflix special that hits the nail just right:

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