BALI 10 #day1
What’s in a name? The first day of BALI10 started with introductions. First question — who are you? What does your name mean? Well…. while many reflected that their given names had strong religious or personal meanings, family names were not unusually slave names. Several of us also recalled stories of adapted names because of length or where pronunciation was deemed “too difficult” by others. Both my sister and I have two-syllable names and a Cantonese equivalent. Pang, though not my married name, is my family name from my father’s side that I cherish as the last generation in our family tree to carry it.
Next — onto identity. How do you identify? Black — as a politically inclusive term, Black and Asian and person of colour were the preferred terms. Less popular were phrases like BAME, BME and the group’s least favourite ethnic minority. A shared sense of ‘othering’ it was felt were attached to some of these labels.
Throughout the day we were introduced to terms like “Global Majority” and asked to consider the value we can bring with perspectives taken from a global majority view rather than as disadvantaged minorities, BAME, or simply ‘Non-white’, which is another identity that means centering on ‘whiteness’ as being the norm and all else as a “deficit”.
Racism in the workplace — most of the BALI10 peers were easily able to cite micro-aggressions, such as those Akala describes as ‘everyday racism’.
The group organisers walked us through their own personal journeys and shared several real-life situations where they had experienced racism. Presenting a dilemma, and offering us a chance to consider the challenges presented as an opportunity for ‘courageous conversations’, a chance to educate, shift the paradigm and to ‘create allies’.
We were reminded of the responsibility that comes with representation, of often being the sole person of colour in the room, or working at a senior level and encouraged to ‘turn-up’ and take ownership.
My top take away lessons from today, were:
- Never hold a grudge
- Find yourself a ‘Council of Elders’. People who know you and will speak your truth.
- Build safe passage through a systemic racist system.
- There are Black leaders coming up behind you. Don’t pull up the ladder.