The book: Jodi Picoult's Small Great Things
The Movie: Hidden Figures
The political event: The NZ Labour & Green Parties joint State of the Nation gathering yesterday.
Click here for Metiria Turei's address
Click here for Andrew Little's address
I highly recommend the book and the movie - and reading the two speeches. It was great to be at the Labour/Greens event in person even though we were part of the overflow crowd that had to listen via loud-speakers as we stood in Mt Albert War Memorial Park (fortunately, on a sunny day!)
So what have all these things made me think about?
- It is so easy to be unconsciously prejudiced. Because it is unconscious we don't take any corrective action. There's a blatant example in Hidden Figures. Becoming more conscious of our biases (not just about race) is the first step. Books and movies like these help me a great deal to "look in the mirror" and become more conscious.
- How easy it is to be unintentionally hurtful to a person who is different from me, even if I have the best intention. Picoult's book in particular highlights many examples of small comments or actions that have a subtle (and hurtful) assumption hidden in them.
- It was a new challenge for me to begin to understand the perspective of white supremacists (who go by various names or titles). It took me a while to get my head around the fact that in Picoult's book this group feel that they are the victims and the "people of color" are the favoured ones and/or the oppressors.
- To paraphrase Andrew Little "We need an inclusive society [here in NZ] more than ever, given recent world events."
All of these issues continue to give me much food for continued thought. One thing I had already decided to do (before seeing/reading any of this) is to apply to be a voluntary English Language Partner for a refugee or migrant. My interview and training comes up soon. I'm looking forward to it, knowing I will learn a lot and hoping I am a little more conscious and a little less likely to drop any clangers!