Paying the rent•
Posted on June 04 2020
In the past couple of days Marcus and I have had some really deep conversations. This isn’t unusual for us - we spend most of our long commute to and from work in discussions about everything from big issues to the minutia of our days - but this week felt different.
It might be strange to see this kind of post on our business page. It is a huge departure from the light-hearted content that we usually share.
My heart is heavy not only because it’s breaking for George Floyd and everyone who is subjected to both macro and microaggressions daily because of the colour of their skin, but also because I am so desperately sorry that the people who have been crying out for us to listen for so long have gone unheard.
I hear you now and I’m committed to doing better. I’m sorry it has taken this long.
This week I’ve committed to doing some deep learning. Here are some actions I’m taking and some resources I’ve found helpful. This kind of learning is never comfortable, but it’s the least I can do. If these words upset you or make you uncomfortable, I encourage you to press on that discomfort and ask yourself why.
Firstly, I’ve learned we need to stop asking people of colour to explain racism and white privilege. For them, this is exhausting emotional labour and unnecessary in the face of all the resources repeatedly provided to us. I recommend this long read by author Reni Eddo-Lodge tilted Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race.
Secondly, I’ve found it helpful to get a true understanding of the definition of racism. I found this quote in the article “Power and Racism” (P.J. Henry & Felicia Pratto) really enlightening: “…lay definitions imply that racism is a consciously held belief resulting in an intentional action. However, racial attitudes may be implicit, and racist behaviour can be made without self-awareness and without intent”. I highly recommend reading the whole article (available as a downloadable PDF here) as it gives a really thorough deep dive into the modern definition of racism as a function of history, society and power dynamics. Racism is not about being a ‘good person’ or a ‘bad person’, it is a part of the fabric of our society, and it manifests in both socially-acceptable and socially-unacceptable ways. There is a great info-graph floating around online that demonstrates this point.
Finally, in acknowledging that Australia has a deeply painful history with our own indigenous community, I am committed to taking actions of solidarity with them. I want to thank my online community of fellow business owners for bringing my attention to the initiative “Pay the Rent”, whereby businesses commit 1% of their income for restitution to the traditional owners of our land. In this regard, I want to acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of our land, the Yagara and Turrbal people. We will be paying our rent in perpetuity to the Queensland Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Foundation going forward.
Some might say this isn't relevant to our business or offerings at Studio Cakes. Truthfully, businesses are just people. We are where the change begins. If we can't entirely solve the world's problems, at least we can commit to doing no harm.
Lots of love,
Paying the rent
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