7 juin, 2020

edited on June 8, 2020

Acknowledgement of my privilege

i wish to acknowledge that i am a first generation settler with many privileges, among them that of living on the land of Toronto whose history is not without sharp clashes of concepts and power, in common with most other Canadian land. 

i am aware that this land has been the subject of the 1787 Toronto Purchase which was understood by Indigenous communities at the time as the beginning of a sharing relationship, but was used by settlers to transfer ownership to the Crown. i am aware that the “Purchase” took place for 10 shillings ($60 in today’s dollars), 2000 gun flints, 24 brass kettles, 120 mirrors, 24 laced hats, a bale of flowered flannel and 96 gallons of rum. i am also aware that this same Toronto land was subject to a $145 settlement between the Crown and the Mississaugas of New Credit First Nation in 2010 and that this settlement triggered mixed reactions among Indigenous communities.

then, i wish to acknowledge that despite some efforts in my artistic practice to participate in the deconstruction of this privilege and of that of being white, i have made only little progress and only in my understanding of this privilege, and this, sadly mostly through facing systemic oppression and housing precarity myself. 

Acknowledgement of my current paradox

understanding privilege is very different from acting its deconstruction.

as i loose my home while white, trans, living with disability (difference) and largely under poverty line, i feel closer to the homelessness that is so disproportionately prevalent in Indigenous and BIPOC communities.

i am scared and the violence of the situation i and my neighbours are in in the middle of a pandemic has triggered ancestral and personal trauma. for some reason which i intuit is linked to my confusion about how to reconcile with land and its communities and about how to relate to privilege despite my intellectual understanding of where we are at, my being is currently shutting its own boundaries to shame and suicidal thoughts. i am deconstructing myself.

it is partly burn out but there is also a teaching here i suspect.

what i see now is that i do not know and i can’t rationalize how to embody a right to housing without entering intimately taboo internal landscapes (a sensation that i simply exist; to be heard; to experience life as simpler than i think it is; joy without punishment, etc.) and other landscapes that i do not find legitimate politically, such as consciously or unconsciously embodying white male entitlement.

the irony is that the taboo itself is both trauma and privilege.

i am stuck. fuck.

where is gravity?

thoughts welcome: claudesudbury at gmail dot com

claude wittmann