Colouring in the white spaces

I have been working in the education sector for a couple of years now. Returning to it, after about a decade away in the charity sector.

Earlier this year, Dr Ann Milne put her course, Identifying our White Spaces, online for a discount, and the amazing organisation I work with (The Pam Fergusson Charitable Trust) agreed to pay for it.

As a tauiwi immigrant, working in schools with mostly Pasifika and Māori youth, it has been an eye-opening experience that you cannot get by reading alone. The course (and disclaimer, I’m not finished yet, because you know, life and all that jazz) is well-put together and draws on the extensive experience and knowlege that Dr Milne has from her many many years as a Pākehā teacher, then principal… and as the mother and grandmother of Māori children.

I’m not going to give too much detail on the course in general (It’s mostly her own intellectual property, and not mine to share). I do want to say: if you are living here in Aotearoa, and especially if you work with young people, you should do this course. What I’d like to share is this wee graphic I drew… especially in light of what has been happening worldwide. It is something that really struck me when I first read it (it comes out of her book Coloring in the White Spaces)

It’s a great illustration of racial privilege and what it means… you’re still moving ahead, still moving to the right, even if you stand still and do nothing. It’s not as bad as being actively racist, but you still end up at the same place… figuratively speaking.

I think i’ve been walking, I’m the third person along.

I hope with the work I do, and the activism I take part in, I can be person four one day.

Which person are you?

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