Picture by https://grullon.wordpress.com and text by Daniela
At university, I was very fortunate to meet Maureen. She was from Nigeria and working as a tutor while researching her PhD at the School of Social Justice at my University. When she introduced herself in our first tutorial one of the girls in my group told her how much she liked Africa and that she really wanted to go there after her studies to help the people. Maureen looked at her and said:" Help them how?" (To this day I am sooo glad it wasn't me who'd said that). The girl didn't realize what she'd just said and went on to tell Maureen that she wanted to teach people in Africa. And Maureen replied: "And what exactly could a young girl, who doesn't know the first thing about living in Africa, teach people like me?" There it was: the first time I'd come across (and saw it for what it was): white privilege.
I have always believed in a meritocracy, i.e. a system in which one's "status" is derived from the competencies and experience a person has. Skin colour, gender, religion, sexual orientation or age should not matter. They never did to me. I would have to be blind or very naive to believe that our societies are even close to that. Yes, racism is prevalent in European countries as much as it is in the USA. I have witnessed it myself in Germany and Ireland, in Italy and France. It has NO PLACE in today's world and even having to type it out seems ridiculous. But, sadly, it is not. And in the light of recent events I have to realize that I have been a poor friend and ally. I want the world to be a fairer and more equal place, so I need to support those fighting for it. And I need to work on my own prejudices. So I will continue unlearning my skewed view of the world and learning about my (unfair) privileges. Moreover, I will train myself to become anti-racist and teach my children the same. It is on me, on you and on everyone to change this world. Today, tomorrow and always. I hope you'll be with me.