Today we were introduced to the green camp staff and they shared a small portion of their lives with us. They told us about their travels and ambitions, the amazing places they had been that I could only one-day hope to visit, the experiences and connections that they made that were so incredible. What struck me most was when one of the girls mentioned she could speak French, something that had been a long time goal of mine. This shocked me as if I had somehow decided myself to be more capable than these people. Why had I not recognised their ability before? I already knew that English was their second language and yet it wasn’t until I heard that this lady was fluent in French that I realised they were just as capable as me. I can only explain this by my own familiarity with the language meaning I see it with more ease then other languages, but with French this is not the case. I have studied French for 4 years and often struggled with the complexity of the language and its grammar, I think this gave me an understanding of the dedication and hard work that these people have put into learning new languages so that they could travel and live their dreams. It also helped me to realise the unconscious bias I held over these people, that me, as a young Australian, had a greater ability to achieve a world presence, yet here in front of me stood a group of people who were able to achieve just that without the privileges that come from being born in Australia.
I have always been aware that white privilege exists and that I being born into a white family in Australia with two educated and working parents have had privilege my whole life, yet what I was not aware of was the fact the in my subconscious this privilege had morphed handicap for those people who were born without it. These people showed me that this is not the case, that just because we don’t have the same privileges as other does not mean we are handicapped or any less capable.
This all caused me to reflect on the type of global citizens we are creating in our society, a type of people who are told their whole life that they are developed ‘first world’ as we are an entirely different species from these people. The reality is that we are all one people and we all can achieve so much not matter where we are born and this is the knowledge I want to bring into as many people lives as possible, that we are all capable, all deserving, all human and people like this can help us to break away from our customary way of thinking into a new mindset.
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