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.
One of the most current, genuine, and honest sources of information amidst all this has been a YouTube series called Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man, hosted by former NFL player Emmanual Acho. I came across his first episode fairly deep in the rabbit hole, having already watched a few documentaries and Netflix specials from some of my favourite comedians. Emmanual’s short direct-to-camera pieces are informative, factual, yet truthful, and emotional.

Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man
Emmanual Acho
White privilege is having a head start due to hundreds and hundreds of years of systemic racism, it's having a head start intrinsically built into your life. It's not saying your life hasn't been hard, but what its saying is that your skin colour hasn't contributed to the difficulty in your life.

Emmanual’s series did make me uncomfortable, but they also opened my eyes. What his monologues and conversations began to teach me is the fact that white privilege and inequality towards black and people of colour have become something invisible to ourselves. With a rulebook written by whites for whites, we (white people) take so many things for granted to an extent where we fail to recognise the flip side of our world, our reality, our normality.

Not only are our actions and choices, conscious or not, detrimental to the dignity, safety and happiness of people of colour, we’ve even gone out of our way to things worse.
Through political campaigns such as the war on drugs, legislation and laws, and the often embarrassingly wrongful portrayal of black people in popular culture and media, we’ve time and again intentionally stigmatised people of colour without the faintest idea of all the hardship as a result.

Which brings me to another thing I hadn’t previously considered: the notion of equality relative to time. A dominant voice today backs equality from the side of expectation: because of equality, we expect employment, education, human rights issues to resolve themselves. And if a company only hires white men, its because women and people of colour are simply not qualified enough to do the job. We hadn’t stopped for one moment to consider that maybe the hundreds of years of oppression is to blame for the lack of wealth, education, and employment figures for people of colour. What’s more, we hadn’t considered to actively address the inequality attributed to time. 

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