Wednesday break: This time a brief update on my sudden break and a topic that kept coming up interpersonal communication with racism and such as a red line.
A sudden break
I wrote my last post rougly one month ago and not without reason. Coming back from Glasgow I felt the enormous need to take it a notch down, because I’m a yes-a-holic. Yes to work, yes to voluntairy work, yes to traveling, yes to working out, Yes to selfstudy, yes to all!
Apparently I forget about “No” easily and putting “Yes” to emotional and physical needs in the same line. Whoops.. Unfortunately you don’t just replace the batteries in this model; the human model needs recharching!
So I decided to make my photography challengeday at the Dutch Open for body building with the lovely Meyke from XXL Focus my last extra for a while and give my arse some mandatory rest. Mandatory rest doesn’t mean stopping with whatever you’re doing, but evualuating what needs to done and what can be done later. Prioritizing!
That meant I still went out for work and creating chances to find study related work. Be social with the ones that matter and leave out all the rest. They best understand me and my needs when I’m tired. Social on the interwebs? No. Not important. Bye insta, bye facebook, bye blog. Not today.
What more? I ate a little extra, slept a little extra.
I left working out out of the equation, because I run every day anyway and I replaced it with mindfulness exercises. Working out for the mind!
Today I have a day off for singing class and other stuff and I had some time left to do something I like. And this morning I felt like writing. Time for my Wednesday break!
Racism, discrimination and so on.. Hidden or unintentionally.
Just came back from my singing lessons and had a nice talk with my vocal teacher before starting (as ever) about today’s racial problems and my heritage. It stays funny how no one knows where I’m from, besides from looking a bit exotic. Maria didn’t notice at all untill I just brought it up during class, because she never thinks about roots and all, because none of that is important. Whether it comes to religion, race, social/ financial status. It shouldn’t the f*ck matter.
Just now a waitress didn’t know how to address me (I’m writing on location). She doubted about speaking english to me instead of dutch, because she thought I look exotic. In a nice way though. She said she couldn’t figure out where I’m from. According to her I could have been from anywhere.
And thats what most people think. I’ve heard many things, Aruban, Thai, Kiwi, Chinese, Russian (yeah I know), Korean, Japanese. No one thinks of Indonesia first, because I’m a whitey like my dad :’) When most people ask me where I come from, I don’t see any harm. We actually started a nice convo. I think it’s beautiful how this always happens, because no one knows where I come from.
About those racial problems
But here’s the other side. As much as I still like to believe, none of that is of this time, it still seems to be.
Yesterday I spoke to someone I went to school with about looking for jobs, since that is still an current subject in this period of my life at the moment. Her sis, who is very well educated, suffered from something completely different, rather than lack of experience or a tough market. Race. Can you imagine people being rejected for their roots? Their name? Who they really are? Or because people are unable to pronounce it? Or just not willing to. I couldn’t believe my ears. I’m not making up this story, they actually used it as a legit reason to reject her.
Afterwards someone else told me she worked for some time at an employment agency and they specifcially handled the following rule: no one from Moroccan decent gets hired. None.
Not long ago my friend was wrongfully accused of being a potential pill pusher, because she walked the dog. According to the man accusing her and treathning to unlease his dog on her he heard that a lot of dark women with dogs are dealers and so he instantly assumed she is one as well and just started yelling.
It baffles me, because I, like my vocal teacher, dont look at roots and heritage. We look at the person in front of us. If I had to look at roots, I’d rather look at common grounds and common cultural things, because there’s a connection there where you feel each other and which can help you better understand the cultural differences you don’t grasp yet. But in the end I don’t expect things like this to happen, because I’d never look at where someone’s coming from, only what they’d have to say.
I’d never expect someone to call me an ape, and mostly that doesn’t happen. Those are the rare things in life right? But how often do you hear people say ‘oh you have such a dutch surname, I didn’t expect you to look like this. Because… you’re not really dutch are you?’
From most people I expect it to be true interest in you as a person, like the waitress I met today. But unfortunately, not all people seem to mean it like that.
Unintentional: stay open to conversation
And some people don’t mean it at all, but cant help themselves. Most people actually aren’t aware of saying hurtfull things. They truly don’t mean harm, but it is programmed in our systems. And somehow these are the worst things, because you know they’re not to blame, but it can drive people crazy enough to move to another country. Things are so crooked sometimes, the ones with a tender heart can’t take it. Thick skin, manning up. Of course we should, with everything. That’s life, girl! Sometimes things are meant humorously and we learn to take it as that. We let it go. We don’t want to make drama as my friend says it. Nothing has to be serious all the time, right? But who’s to say for how long a person can handle that. It differs from person to person. I think we should remember that… Know who you have in front of you and whether you’d accept it if someone said it to you. Think before you speak counts for everything right?
So there are different kind of levels when it comes to how crooked relations and convo’s are
1. The blunt one. The “I” for sure mean it and I say it:
People who call you servant or human ape. Choose from a whole dictionary of names for where a person comes from. You know what I mean. I kid you not in hospitality business I hear the weirdest things. Being an ape, is just one of them.
2. The ones who mean it, but say it carefully:
‘We can’t pronounce your name, sorry. Taking you in would make us look bad. It doesn’t fit the standard’.
or the ‘Oh’ (in dissappointed voice) I thought you’d be dutch, but you dont look like it.
3. The ones who mean it, but not personal. Who say they don’t generalize but actually do:
- I believe this and this hurtful thing about this group, but you are different. Note: every one is different. Not just me, apart from that group of people. -.-“
For example: ‘Oh, no, I don’t mean it like that. Well at least it doesn’t account to you, because… (here it comes) you’re different’. One of my experiences is being at a party with people almost yelling “the headscarfs” (yes, they meant other human beings) should be drowned! When I carefully tell them my whole family is muslim and I say something like that speaks to me as well, I’m sometims told ‘oh but honey, not you of course, you’re different’.
How Maria and I understand this, and I’m fully giving judgements here, I’m aware of this:
- We’re the good ones, they’re not and were so glad you’re different from them and belong with us. While you’re still the same group. But you’re different (as if you’re more evolved and a traitor for the other cultural group)
- You assume that I don’t have respect for the other culture and already agree with your way of thinking or insult for a whole group of people you dont know.
2. If I knew it would hurt you I wouldn’t have said it. Aka I do believe this, but I won’t say it if I know about your heritage.
For example: my whole family is muslim, but I’ve been brought up with my own choice. Whether you know this or not, is not important. You think before anything comes out of your mouth. Joking to me where I can find a headscarf as well as in a belittling way, because I quit drinking a while ago, to me is not a joke. This is telling me there’s something wrong with the one who truly does it out of belief. Not to mention that I’m related to people like this.
If you tell me you wouldn’t have said it if you would have known that half my family is muslim, says to me your beliefs about the group stay the same, you only want to hide it. Something you’d happily tell others behind the backs of people like me, as long as I don’t hear it. Still insulting, but with saving your face or actually being found funny for it somewhere else.
3. It’s all fine with me, but you shouldn’t be like them, because that’s not you.
For example: Someone told me he means well and can go around with many people from different cultures, race or country, but I shouldnt become religious because that isn’t how I’m born and brought up. It came up because I’m around someone who is. Well, people change don’t they? And how is making my own choices your business or a bad one for that matter? Does it hurt you? No. I respect and understand people looking out for me, but once again: think before you speak.
4. The truly unaware:
The ones who have no problems of any kind with other cultures or races but need to emphazise it or tell you “I have a collegue who is from [country] and he works hard?”
For example: “I too have a friend/neighbour from … “(fill in the gap)
- Well good for you! Should I be proud of you for emphasizig how good of a person you are for telling me that. It shouldnt be special… Right?
- As my teacher says it: Everything is compared to a white standard. Not because people intend to do that, no, just because we don’t know any better.
Like men and women, a conversation of the deaf: lack of understanding one another.
They don’t mean it bad, and they’ll tell you. So why make it a huge deal?
Maria told it right by saying they’ve probably never felt that way, so how could they feel something close to it if you can’t identify? Of course you can’t. It makes perfect sense.
The danger of this standard still being around and lack of interpersonal skills, is that even racism the other way around exists. Which I can imagine hurts just as bad as well. “white people” in general are a group of (in some eyes out of bitterness) “bad people” as well. It is all judgements over and fort. And we treat each other in a wrong way.
Everything is called ‘just a joke’, ‘freedom of speech’ or ‘racist’ or ‘discrimination’ so easily, that people get tired off anyone opening the conversation of a theme like this. It can be seen as whining or exaggeration before even read. Just like this piece where I try to see the bigger picture in this issue and try to understand both sides, why it’s so hard for anyone in this matter.
Back to identification. It’s like a depression. You can imagine a bit, but you will never truly feel what a person feels. You can’t identify. Just look up articles on what certain lines being said to people who are depressed, won’t help, even with the best intentions. And how it says to the people who are depressed to understand they’re being said with the best intention.
It sucks to be called racist when truly you’re not, at least not aware of the results. And it sucks to be hurt by racists things, but it’s not understood as racist.
For all we know I’ve made tons of stupid remarks myself, probably have, but didn’t realize it. Maybe I’m making them right now, hitting close to home for someone on the other side of this story. But here I am, speaking from my perspective.
So for both parties, perspective is important. Remember the intentions and on what level people can or can’t identify. It’s the person with his intentions that count. I’m not writing here about priveleges and victims, I’m writing about how things are working and constructed. The ones who do experience these things should also realize how hard it must be for someone to understand when they don’t mean harm. That being said, for every one just respect that everyone feels differently. Make conversation, explain yourself, speak out, ask questions. I believe all humans feel the need to do good, the right thing. At least I believe the majority of this world does! We just don’t know how to do that or what that is. That’s what we’re all figuring out right?
Back to some positivity. If something unites and speaks to every soul never mind where you’re from, it’s music! I had two productions. One with Willow Mae and one with Transient State last Sunday.
I also bought myself a Rode NT <3 now I can practice at home and record some if I want to. For now I’m focussing now on singing something from one of my favourite artists: Jack Savoretti, sorry bf hes so cuteeee<3
Glasgow was great and Londen is coming up this weekend. Happy Birthday, Nathalie, I’ll see you soon! Also everything is finally booked for Iceland. Only thing left to do is buying a tent and fieldbed. WHOO!
Catapult – Jack savoretti