Today I have included the following text as a footnote to all my entries:

All diary entries are based on my own perception of a situation or event. They are subjective reflections and often written well after the fact. Other people I mention will have their own version of the events I describe and might disagree with their portrayal. This project is not about libelling people or stigmatising them but about recording my own perceptions of racism as a person sensitized to racism, both as a victim of racism and as a racist.

It's been interesting writing this. I am surprised by how much it has effected my 'real' life - my life outside this project. Originally, I had believed that I could just write about how racism effects my life in some kind of mechanical way like a tape recorder. But it does have an impact on my life - not just the time commitment required for this kind of project, but in terms of how I perceive the world and also in terms of how people I know perceive me and what I'm writing.

At this stage, I need to clarify my position. On December 30, I will be halfway through this. Last night I was made to realise one of the implications of this kind of work. Usually people do not admit to their racism, their prejudice, their inner feelings of hatred, envy, mistrust, dislike.
Which is a good thing.
By treating everyone with respect and keeping our feelings to ourselves, we leave ourselves open to changing our minds, to learning to like someone when originally we didn't (or vice versa). It is not just a social necessity that we 'act nice' to people, but a personal necessity as well. We need to keep the freedom of not actually diss-ing someone so we can change our minds. We don't go around pissing people off because they treat us differently, worse, unfairly when we do. Not saying everything we think at any one time, gives us freedom to change.

But also, I don't really want to know if someone doesn't like me. I don't care as long as they treat me fairly. And that is a pact we have with our fellow-humans (unless we're adolescent, in which case the pact only holds good for 'our own' gang or mates).

I now know I am hurting people when they recognise themselves in my entries. That is absolutely not my intention here. My intention is to record faithfully my own perceptions of racism, from myself and from others. People do not usually do this.

Racism, or perceived racism, just flows about our lives without anyone taking note, or taking stock, as I am doing. It can be shocking to be (mis)understood as saying a racist comment. Sometimes in the rush and flow of a conversation, we don't challenge someone we believe to have said something offensive. Whether they mean it or not. I know I rarely challenge people's anti-Semitism, unless it comes in a particular form, in very particular circumstances. And I even less often challenge what seems like throw-away racism, just a line or comment that is part of a conversation. I do not believe in thought-police, in politically correct revisions of people's speech. But I will recognise racism when (I think) I hear it. We all do, I believe, even when we don't want to admit it consciously.

I also know that I am misunderstood from time to time, as I have recorded here. People don't always know where I'm coming from, so they might understand what I'm trying to say in a particular way. It might be offensive to them when I have not intended offense or their interpretation. I know I have been misunderstood as saying racist, prejudiced things. I have also been correctly understood as prejudiced and racist. Because I am. I don't like it. But I am.

And everyday, I try to address my own feelings of racism and prejudice because I know exactly what it feels like to be on the receiving end... and I don't want to dish it out if I can help it. I don't want to swallow the myths and prejudices prevalent in our society because they are unfair to me. They are unfair to the people I know and they are unfair to future relationships I might have with people I don't know yet. It keeps me small and fearful when there's no reason to be.

Last night I was made aware of prejudices I have against blondes, against Scandinavians, against Aryans. I choose to forget the history that portrays the Netherlands, Sweden, Denmark, etc as occupied countries who helped to save Jewish people against the Nazi Holocaust. I usually choose to forget these histories because I am envious of their blonde-ness. I envy blonde-ness because wouldn't it be nice to be so unquestionably white? so unquestionably on the top of the tree? No one has ever been despised for being blonde. Envied yes. But not despised. In a world which has 'colour'-based hierarchies, of over 100 years of Social Darwinism, which puts the whitest at the top and the darkest at the bottom, I envy those at the top. Of course I want to be fair and pure and white.
Aside: why do so many white women dye their hair blonde?

But I had to confront my prejudice last night. I had to move beyond just seeing blonde-ness to seeing a person. It's always hard.

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