"My name is Meghanaiyegee Venketasamy born and raised in a family of tamil speakers. This ancestral inheritance privileges me over others. I am tagged “colored woman” and this tag privileges me over other women. I have been to school, to university and have been part of international fellowships – this parcours privileges me over other women. I am part of local,regional and international networks and this belongingness privileges me over other women."
I have privileges, some born with and others I have acquired. You have privileges, we have privileges, some born with and others acquired.
Privilege is defined here as a special advantage, immunity, permission, right, or benefit granted to or enjoyed by an individual, class, or caste. We all have privileges, be it financial resources, acquired knowledge, linguistics inheritance, community belongingness.
Privilege is when we think something is not a problem, because it is not a problem to us personally.
My conversation will discomfort and this is my grounded intent.
People of my community will rather have me speak to them than having to listen to a woman unlike me. The pieces of stamped paper that I hold grant me access to stages and by default, men and women will rather honor me than some other woman they tag as “disqualified by default”. My skin color, my hair and my name give me access to spaces in this world, where I am embraced and welcomed. And I am also aware of spaces and instances where I have been asked to and I will be asked to dim my self for my difference is not welcomed.
This pattern is ever present. Most of us are either not aware of this pattern or we are purposefully choosing to act blind. I see amazing women and men leading campaigns and teaching but when I pause to look at their team, at the structure of their work and at the language in use, it is strikingly disturbing to note the lack of inclusiveness in terms of colors, words, stories, men and women.
My legitimacy as a woman facilitating and leading other women is often questioned and this is linked to the coloredness of my skin. Nonetheless I am lucky to be colored for my black sisters’ paths are no easy sway compared to mine. The ever present supremacy of one category of humans over another is a dis-ease spread across the globe. And if feminism is about including then we as feminists can no more afford to play such a disconnected game. Ignoring this dis-ease does not make space for healing.
It is painful and hurtful to question our self whether despite our grounded good intentions, we have not been including. I am on that path and every day I allow myself to become present to how I can include voices, ripples, rhythms, rhymes, stories, wisdom, knowledge and words of women and men from different instances and spaces through the works that I do.
Are you aware that you have privileges?
What are your privileges?
How can you tap into your privileges to create space for inclusiveness?
How can you use your privileges to catapult this world to the next level of awareness, consciousness and connectedness?
My journey as a woman facilitator through the She Stands Tall Project grounds me through this purpose. As I allow myself to stand tall in my ever changing beigness, I also own responsibility for using my privileges to embrace those who look, sound, speak, see, hear, feel and experience unlike me. This is Power.
In one month, Mauritius will be embracing 28 women from across the globe including Mauritian sisters, for the 2nd Biennial Conference of The She Stands Tall Project, a one of it’s kind conference where the space will witness and birthing of a container holding the likeliness and unlikeliness of each present.
May we move into awareness of our privileges and may this awareness support us
to include us, you and me.
Love from my heart to yours
PS: for more details on regarding the conference, please write to us on firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com
Post © Megha Venketasamy, 2018. All rights reserved.