At my first Creative mornings session in Detroit, the presenter Brandon Christopher said something that has stayed with me. Equality is not a tangible thing. If you think you’ve arrived at equality, you’re fooling yourself. Equality is a moving target. As I mulled over it with a dose of women-oriented Indian films this last week, the idea made more sense.
Growing up in a highly patriarchal country meant that the general acceptance of sexism is still very high. We have made an art out of normalizing sexist behavior. Even as a college student, people would throw stereotypes at me and my responses were weak at best. I just didn’t realize where they were coming from. I was also very ignorant. Comparing this with people who’ve fought for women’s rights and feminism for decades, makes me think that my starting point was different. I speak about gender here, but you could replace that with race, color or any other form of discrimination.
Depending on where you start from, you may view equality differently. Things that I consider deeply sexist and feudal now, were less offensive when I wasn’t well informed. And this isn’t an east or west difference. Cultural norms in most countries are set to suit one gender or race.
No matter how advanced we feel at different points in our lives, inequality creeps up right behind and makes us question things. Some of these queries are also acknowledging our relative privileges or seeing things from a disadvantaged perspective.
How do you address creative inequality from a privileged point of view?
- Acknowledge your privilege.
- Do not ask dumb questions like, “do you think your disadvantage is an opportunity in disguise?” No, it is not. A life full of challenges is hard. It is not a marketing gimmick. Reverse-sexism, reverse-racism etc. do NOT exist. Educate yourself.
- Empathize with others and learn more about their lives/ struggles.
How do you address creative inequality from a disadvantaged point of view?
- Seek mentors. Mentors do NOT have to be the same color, gender or race as you. They can be anywhere and do not need to have the same life experiences like you.
- Show up.
- Finished is better than perfect. See THIS.
Felt so energized about #creative #equality after hearing @canvasxdetroit speak at this month’s @creativemorningsdetroit session. Also happy that finally found so much #diversity in a single spot. At this rate I could move into @mocadetroit 🎨☺️❤️#creativity #detroit #detroitstyle #love #creativemornings #humansofdetroit #art #detroitartist
Brandon shared a very key point during this presentation on what you could do to address various types on inequalities you see around. Join a movement, a platform or a channel, if you can’t build one. Most of us (me included) have grand ideas but get overwhelmed by the execution. It’s okay to join someone else. It’s okay to divide and concur. Every small step counts. Whining and complaining are not creative.
Most of all, allow yourself the gift of imagination. Give your two pink balloons some artistic flight.