Nalo Hopkinson is a writer who lives in Toronto (most of the time?) who I had the pleasure to meet a few times during my tenure at the Toronto Women’s Bookstore. I also took a writing workshop with her a number of years ago.
This video clip is a short, profound and rich comment on what it means to notice race and other differences.
You Tube clip here.
What I love about this piece is that she names some of the places that she struggles.
Often when doing the work of anti-oppression education, I find that people respond to me as if I’m somehow presenting myself as perfect, that I’m judging them or pointing fingers, saying they’re bad people, etc. When I reveal early on that unpacking oppressive ideas and thoughts and actions is a lifelong commitment, that I struggle with issues and with noticing my privilege, that it’s the commitment that matters, the engagement, the openness to being wrong, to making mistakes, and to learning, then some lights go on.
Nalo also talks about making mistakes. This is such an important point. A strong value in Canadian society is to not make mistakes, ever. If you do you’re stupid, etc. But this work is fraught with mistakes. To engage in this project ethically and deeply will bring about mistakes. It is in fact from our mistakes that the most profound learning and changing can emerge.
Thank you Nalo. Your words are powerful. Thank you for your gift to us.