How can I make a difference?
The newsfeeds, social media, and discussions are asking for people to do better. How can I as an artist, business person, and now blogger do better for the larger society? I have spent many days reflecting on my role in the situation of systemic racism and more specifically for the Black Lives Matter movement.
Wait...why am I bringing this up when this is supposed to be a blog about my pottery studio and stories from there. When I am in my studio creating, I have the TV on sometimes watching the news. Some of my best thinking and reflecting is done in my studio and the past week has given me plenty of things to reflect on. I did debate about whether I bring politics into business and art and I decided just like my favourite creative magazine www.uppercasemagazine.com editor in her newsletter that yes I can comment. It is that important. It does affect me, because I want our society to be better, do better.
When I was interviewed by CTV news and CBC Radio there was the big question of the honour system at my store and how does it work? Have you ever had problems? Don't you worry about someone stealing? I always answer that it works, and that I haven't had any problems and that is the truth. Do I worry that someone is going to "take advantage of my system"? No, because I believe people are good.
I have spend 24 years teaching school and discussing racism through the history classes, bullying and meanness through the arts and I talk about equality and that everyone needs to be treated the same. SO to walk the talk that I have told my students, I run my highway store on trust and kindness. I have had people from all over the world stop to check out my highway store over the past seven years and if I'm around I will go out to meet my customers if I can. This is not to check on them and make sure they are being honourable with my system, but because I want to meet them. I believe in people, no matter what skin tone. People have proven that they are good and can be trusted.
My system is not the norm. I'm not sharing this because I should get a hero cookie because I trust people, but as a society why don't we trust people? Why do we have people being killed because of their skin colour, people calling the police because someone is walking in the neighbourhood with a different skin colour, sterotypes being made because of race? So many questions need to be asked of ourselves as a human race. We need to do better!
We are all created the same, just some have more melanin than others. I posted this picture taken by @iamdiva on my instagram account yesterday showing three pottery cups in three different glazes and I compared it to people. These cups are all created the same, throw a piece of clay on the wheel and create a shape. The end result is slightly different making each unique, just like humans. And yes, people like one glaze better than another for a piece of pottery, but no one comes into my store and looks at one cup and smashes it because of the glaze colour, but we as humans, as a society, as a human race have allowed words, actions, fears, and craziness to happen to people that have a different skin tone.
I am a white female, that fits into the white privilege category. I can not change how I look, but I can control what I do with that privilege. I will continue to trust people in my highway store, people are good. I will continue to stand up for minorities and reflect more and more on how I speak, how I react, how I stand up and ensure that my children are understanding of the systemic racism that exists in Canada for many different groups. I will continue to create pottery and hope that my honour system in my highway store will allow others to think that we can operate different in society. I will not be silenced and I will stand up for minority groups and work to ensure that the people I am around will be treated with dignity and respect.