Here’s why I happily gave The Oscars and the Grammys and all other white-male-operated award shows a yawn and a miss. They don’t represent me, my family, or my friends:
And while this particular clip examines White/Black dynamics at the Oscars, notice that other so-called minorities are also missing from what we celebrate collectively and value.
People who have been left out of the conversation for far too long:
I’m thoughtful these days about the term “minority” too. Because I haven’t done the math, but I’m pretty sure that if all non-white people were counted as a group, the group we call “minorities”, descendents of European settlers like me. would probably be quite the minority.
So I look forward to the day when we create award shows which leave behind the history of white supremacy and reward the people who tell all of our stories, not just one subset and viewpoint. I just hope that enough white people are already taking steps to make this happen, and willing to follow the lead of those who’ve been left out of conversations and awards for generations. Because quite frankly, the way we collectively behave could leave any and all of our white children without a seat at the table.
Just in case you’ve mistaken my wanting to talk about all of the things with being ashamed, you have the wrong person here. I have no guilt, but I do feel the weight of responsibility. I have worked on and around race discussions for 25 years, and can tell you that the past few have been the most comfortable (while always being unsettled) I’ve ever experienced.
I agree entirely: it is foolish to be ashamed for being white. I had no hand in that.
Am I frustrated in the obstinate policy of people in my white community to remain ignorant willfully by ignoring so many voices out there? Indeed I am. Frustrated to the point of anger sometimes, mixed with disgust and love. And those feelings are mighty right in a person, the feelings I have.
We can talk about our ancestors; and whether or not they had choices and insight until the earth rotates off of its axis, but it will get us nowhere. I want to talk about the things happening today, and about the things I get that others don’t; like a police force that doesn’t stop me on transit, the streets, in my car.
And as a student of the theatre, I want theatre and film that works through some of these things; that present those stories in ways which don’t allow my community to sit in their comfortable seat but allows them to face up to the inequities within our cities, our towns, our villages -and the reserves and residential school systems that my ancestors did nothing but support through silence and complicity.
So don’t try to deflect me with “Shame”.
I want to be responsible for my own privilege – and aware of the many, many ways that the larger society makes my world – and my worldview – more comfortable. I prefer to be uncomfortable (you could call it “mindful”) – about living in a society where comfort is always at the cost of others. That’s the beginning of change; the beginning of the end of a colonial society which is massively concerned with avoiding feelings of guilt; and the beginning of a society where taking responsibility is a prized trait.
Simply existing on these lands at this point in history with a European background means that you and I share a current responsibility to demand better of those who represent us.
If you mistake my desire to speak of all of these things without being encumbered by guilt or shame, you’ve parked on the wrong wall.
– Adapted from postings by karen tsang – a settler living on unceded Coast Salish territory.