The uncomfortable converstion: hidden belief systems on racism

Margo Groeneveld
28 Jun 2020

So, I feel I should write something about racism. Because that is what’s been dominating the news (rightly so) and it is on the minds of a lot of people. We can read books about it, we can have tough conversations, we can demonstrate, we can fight. And somehow I am not feeling that… and I am no expert on it, but there is always something we can do.

Three questions I asked myself instead

In stead, I took some time to sit with it. To sit with racism, to commit to being really honest to myself how I was perpetuating racism. I got out my diary and asked myself the following three questions:

  • What did society teach me about people with different skin colour?
  • What did my parents teach me about people with different skin colour?
  • What did the media taught me about people with different skin colour?

And … Every anwser that came up for me kind of shocked me…

For example one of the things that came up, is that I grew up with an ama when living in Malaysia during childhood. My parents taught me we are all equal, however having an ama is at the same time a confirmation of the servitude archetype of people with different skin colour.

And sitting with this memory from my childhood gave me  a better understanding of the discussion around ‘Zwarte Piet’ and the resistance people might have against it. Even though children don’t have a clue about racism, they way we picture ‘Zwarte Piet’ doesn’t represent equality either.

These kind of belief systems are deeply ingrained into our society. And there are many more, as you might find if you’d take some time to ponder these questions. So I’d like to invite you to sit with these questions for yourself.

It’s about you and me…

I travelled the world, lived in various countries (Malaysia and South Korea), I am super curious about meeting new people, regardless of basically anything and I defy some of the ‘white priviliges’ as terms like power are often devoid of love and connection.

Unfortunately, culture is about a set of belief systems we all carry within us. It really is about you and me, much more than I was aware of. And it hurts…