Do you really know how it feels?
Watched with great facination a documentary on The Passionate Eye called Indecently Exposed tonight.
A workshop about anti-racism ran in Regina, Saskatchwan by acclaimed anti-racism expert Jane Elliot. The tape rolls to capture every disturbingly compelling moment of the 5 hour ordeal. She designed to workshop in the late 60s right after Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated to teach her 3rd grade class on what it means and feels like to be black in America. The workshop has been held in 10 countries since then.
The group of 22 participants are divided by eye colour; the Brown-Eyes and the Blue Eyes. The Blue Eyes are then marked, tagged by wearing a green frock around their neck and herded into an empty room were they are ordered to stay, for approximately 2 hours. They are then guarded by a security man of Aboriginal descent who orders them not to talk or do anything.
A different set of orders, however are given to the Brown Eyes.
The Brown Eyes are told that the Blue Eyes are lazy and stupid and are helpless. That the Blue Eyes all want people to conform to their needs and comforts and no one elses.
The Blue Eyes are then herded into a room where they are literally treated like invalids.
Jane literally has some harsh words to say. There is no love or coddling, just raw straight treatment.
One thing she said that really struck me was that 'Racism isn't an Aboriginal or (insert visible minority denomination here) issue, it's a White issue.' In all my years of cultural community work, that one line changed my perspective on racism and prejudice. I was looking at the issue all wrong and it was the reason why I felt uneasy about attending workshops about racism issues when there were no Caucasians in attendance.
I'm not saying minorities aren't racist or prejudice, it's the blatant lie that continually perpetuates; "I'm not prejudice, I've got so and so friends." Everyone has prejudices, EVERYONE. Concious or Unconcious, it lies there and thanks to how North American society is structured, it will continue to perpetuate.
As a a person of minority, in a perfect world I wouldn't have to think about my being Chinese on a daily basis. But even in a city as multicultural as Toronto, I'm forced to acknowledge it, at least once a day because someone always feels that they are superior than I am because of some loosely ingrained birthright. Like they know all about me. Infuriating liberal-masked lines like "I don't think of you as one of those" aren't the answer. They only patronize and insult.
Acknowledge me, as a woman, as an Asian, but also, as an individual, equal in every capacity to you.
Indecently Exposed replays on CBC Newsworld on Wednesday, January 26 at 10pm.
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