This week I've been reflecting on something called 'positionality' which is basically where you are situated in life and what view of the world that gives you. It's about recognising privilege, knowing your heritage and acknowledging that there is more than one truth. This is vital to finding our identity and knowing our purpose, and after this week I feel one tiny step closer. Do you know where you come from and how that puts a filter on everything you interact with in the world? Where did the knowledge you have of the world come from? It is important to know these things, so that you can challenge them, which allows for growth. This week I've been disheartened by the comments I've been reading online, in various threads relating to poverty, single mothers, domestic violence and the housing crisis. It seems that increasingly in New Zealand, our identity as humans is becoming more fragmented, and we are furthering the divide between each of us. When we subscribe to neoliberal ideology, and believe that we have individuality and complete control over our lives, it becomes harder to empathise with those who are in a different position to us. When we take a step back and recognise our privilege, it is easier to see that we are not all on the same playing field, we don't all have the same opportunities and choices. It is your responsibility to use your privilege to advocate for and empower those who the system continues to oppress.
I am an aunty, sister, partner and daughter. I am from a large, multicultural family and this has greatly affected my worldview. I would be socially assigned as pakeha, but as my immediate family (excluding my pakeha father) immigrated from South Africa and are people of colour. For this reason, I do not find I share the same positionality as those who self-identify as pakeha. My extended family are from Thailand and it is with this expansion of networks that I learned more about my ontological views, exposing me to spirituality. After the death of my dad when I was 16, I spent time practicing Buddhism and exploring the connections between the living and spiritual worlds. I am not a believer in God, but I do believe in multiple realities. I see myself as part of the earth, as opposed to living on it. I am from a working class family, born and raised in Glen Eden/Titirangi, right on the edge of the Waitakere Ranges. I was also born with a disability, or more specifically, a limb difference. I am a feminist. I recognise the privilege I have by being light-skinned, university educated and reaping the benefits of the unfair distribution of resources as a result of colonisation and neoliberalism. All of these things have influenced my values and and what I see as important. I value equity, social justice, the health of the environment and life long learning or knowledge. My knowledge is framed by a western educational system, which unfortunately values scientific evidence over human experience.
This is my positionality; I encourage you to spend this week reflecting on your own positionality, what you value, where your knowledge originates and how it affects your world-view. Feel free to share your insights in the comments section, or flick me an email.