The White Lady Therapist
I am white. Very white.
I am a settler; my ancestors are mostly of French decent, I think, and also Scottish, British and Irish. I grew up with so many unearned privileges. My parents had money, they were respected and recognized in our small community. I had access to as much education as I wanted. I could travel, and anywhere I went, I felt safe and that I was generally going to be respected as a white person. I speak both official languages well and can pass for English or French speaking when I need to, which means I am not discriminated against for my language. I am also cis-gender and in a heterosexual relationship... There isn't much I can complain about...
I have reflected for years on how my whiteness can be useful, or used for good. How can I exist non-harmfully? How can I not take too much space? In the end, I think my purpose is to use self-awareness and white privilege to bolster and center the work and truth of BIPOC. This might be done by educating other white folx about racism, to look for and believe the voices of BIPOC, for example.
To be a good human, I must continue learning and clumsily falling as I face my harmful whiteness. Anti-oppressive work, and the dismantling of white supremacy, colonialism, patriarchy and capitalism are not journeys with an end, or at least not an end in my lifetime. This work is a never-ending destruction and rebuilding that evolves over lifetimes.
Like the work evolves, I plan to adapt, continue to learn, to educate myself and to contribute to BIPOC causes financially, spiritually, emotionally and intellectually. This is an ongoing, lifetime project. (If you want to know about the specific ways in which I do this, please ask me!)
In my therapeutic work, we can and will discuss race. We will be thoughtful about how race impacts us. I will continue to make BIPOC clients feel safe to share their anger with me, to make my whiteness known and to not let my white fragility get in the way of our work together.
My promise to you, is to continue to dismantle the structures which marginalize and oppress. I will make mistakes. I may be uncomfortable. But you are at the centre, and I WILL earnestly hold space for you and your truth.