How to Honour Someone

My friend posted this on her Instagram and it was just so beautiful, I had to share it. (With permission of course!)

A grey square with the text: "Don't other me Don't white wash me To honour me, you must see me, as I see myself"

It’s been difficult to explain this concept to white folks and friends. To know someone is to honour every part of them. So if I say I am a Palestinian, Arab, Muslim woman who’s a Canadian citizen, then that’s who and what I am. It’s not up to anyone to label me immigrant or conversely to say, “I just see you as you.” To know me is to honour me, and all the specific and relevant and complex facets of my identity. I refuse to deny any of these intersections. I refuse to stay silent when every facet of me is not seen, heard and supported.

That’s what liberation means to me. To honour every single person as they are—not who they were in the past and certainly not who we make them out to be in our minds. So perhaps in addition to asking our friends how they are, maybe we should also take a minute to understand who they are at the present moment.

Black lives matter.
Black womxn’s lives matter.
Indigenous lives matter.
Trans women are women.
Trans men are men.
That’s that.

Specific things that struck me about this post:

- There are whole categories of conversations that are difficult for folks from different backgrounds to have with the white people in their lives. Sure, there may be some specific white folks who are easier to talk to about it than others, but, if you are white, how does it make you feel knowing that your BIPOC friends might feel exhausted at the mere idea of discussing these topics with you? Let's resist the urge to bounce the blame back on them and sit with it a minute.

- Are there parts of my loved ones' identities that I mentally gloss over? Ignore? Wish weren't there?

- Are there mental categories I put them into? Based on what?

- The question "what does liberation mean to me?"

- Am I holding anyone I know and love to some image or standard of who they used to be? Have I forgotten that people change?

- More insidiously, am I holding these dear ones to some imaginary version of who they are that I have made up in my head?

- What does it really mean to see a person as a whole, complex being? What changes?

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