I believe in the emergence of a paradigm that does not see introspection as an indulgent endeavour in as much as it is a crucial next step in our growth as human beings. If we are not changing at the level of our own personal psychology, society is not changing at a macro level, no matter how many attempts at token reparations we give, memorials we build and rainbows we cover everything in.
For members of my demographic, that process of self-inquiry might include: unpacking one’s own prejudices, taking responsibility, understanding and not denying the existence of one’s own subject position, accepting that one’s viewpoint might always have blind spots, understanding otherness as projection, bravely feeling as opposed to transcending, listening without preconception, approaching emotion and self-development with greater reverence and learning how to communicate from a different space.
In debates around race and privilege, I am interested in the space behind the words; the space inside the skin where people experience emotional triggers; how people move through that heightened emotion (whether or not they allow themselves to fully feel it) and whether or not they are able to find something more expansive on the other side of it.
As long as one sources one’s power, whether one is conscious of it or not, from identity signifiers (e.g. gender, race, religion, economic status, sexuality) that are imbued with false beliefs regarding their level of importance, one will always be emotionally triggered when one of those false beliefs is challenged. The strong sense of self is able to unpack the layers of one’s conditioned identity formation without any fear of loss of self, knowing that the true Self is sourced from some place much deeper or greater than identity specifics (the walls might crumble around oneself, but the foundations remain intact).
In fact, a wise person might welcome the fall of the False Self, knowing that such a breakdown would take one ever closer to one’s authentic core. Such a person might even welcome the temporary burning of shame, the hot pokers of having-got-it-wrong and the discomfort of being out of alignment with that which is good or just or authentic, removing false beliefs the way one would burn off unwanted warts. The mistake is then not seen as damnation for all eternity in as much as it is an opportunity for personal transformation.