me, you, them


I want to write this here. Explain some things which happened a long time ago but explain why I see things the way I do.

Since I was a very young girl, I had a strong sense of injustice in the world - economically, in terms of 'race' and racism, and in gender terms. In the traditional binary of axes of power, sometimes I had power, sometimes I didn't but I still felt the injustices.

Much later I studied about 'race' and racism and I learned some more of the articulations and abuses of power in our society and historically. I learned about things. It was a cerebral process.

But I only really understood myself in terms of abuses of power, as a perpetrator and not just as a victim, when I encountered a psychotherapist who is black. I'm not Woody Allen and I'm not from a culture which finds psychotherapy such an easy or natural step, so I mention it here because it's important and not because it's easy. I had to address for the first time in my life the feeling of a black person with direct power over me. Until that moment, it had never happened. My bosses or teachers had always been from the dominant culture or from my own ethnic background. For the first time in my life, I had to face my own deeply held fears about 'blackness'. I saw how deeply my racism goes. I also saw how deeply other people's racism goes.

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