There is a – often invisible – line that plays a major role in your life. And in how you experience the world. On the one hand, there are things that concern you, that touch you, that you notice, that you pay attention to. On the other hand, there are things you do not know, do not see, do not notice, do not find interesting or important.
How a person’s line is formed is a combination of personality, social circle, education, environment, experiences, habits, phase of life, family members, friends, neighbors, education, sites, books, magazines, films and TV series. This line also shifts during a person’s life. How often and how far and which way all depends on the aforementioned things.
My line has shifted in recent days. In the field of black oppression and white privilege.
Where it all started for me: Pentecost weekend I participated in an online meditation retreat. Except for those sessions, I was offline. No news. No social media. No Whatsapp. Nothing. That Monday afternoon I spent some time on Instagram, for the first time in days. I saw a lot passing by about the BlackLivesMatters protests and demonstrations. And to be honest, something in me found it all a hassle at first.
Until I kept watching. And reading. And couldn’t stop anymore. I was curious. Sad. Angry. Surprised. Shocked. I viewed personal stories and experiences. Documentaries. Facts. Pieces of history. Intense videos. Heartbreaking stories. Opinions. Opposing opinions. Silent protests. Screaming fighters. Defeated people. Frightened people. Brave people. Angry people. Hopeful people.
I watched the documentary “13th” and I was taken aback by it. This documentary clearly shows how the American legal and prison system works. And how much it is intertwined with racial inequality, which has been consciously built and maintained throughout long history. And the major role of the political and commercial world in this.
I live in The Netherlands. And everything that happens in Amerika may seem far from here. But everyone in the world is influenced in many ways, consciously and unconsciously, by everything that can be seen in the news, TV series, movies and online. In any case, I found it clarifying to gain more insight into the history and background of what is going on now by watching that documentary.
For me, apparently it was necessary to see a lot of people – worldwide – write or tell about this subject before it really came to my attention. And I started to study it. I am looking at news and social media messages with a different view now. Against the background of what I have heard and seen in recent days. It has my attention.
My line has shifted visibly.
For those who want to learn more about this topic:
– The documentary 13th (on Netflix and they made it (temporarily?) available on Youtube.)
– Document: Anti-racism resources (booktitles, movies, articles, podcasts and other resources)
– And do look around for good resources in your own country/your own language (in The Netherlands there is for instance a site Wit Huiswerk (‘White Homework’)
(I also posted this blog in Dutch on my Dutch site. )