One of the things I’ve become acutely aware of in the past few months is that, as a white man, I can always take up 100% of the space in a conversation if I want to. It’s been a theme throughout this blog, perhaps since its inception, that I’ve been coming more to terms with my own narcissism, and I think part of that comes with the exceptionally level of privilege I have - narcissism is never punished in people like me. Often it’s even rewarded.
I’m trying to take up less space in conversations, but I still find myself instinctively engaging with the experiences of people who aren’t white men through the lens of my own experience. To some degree, I think it’s natural, healthy and human to try to liken one’s experiences to your own, so you can empathise, better understand, and connect with them. The point is though, that most of the time the experiences of someone with less privilege than me are either vastly different to my own, or different in subtle ways that are lost when I slather a heaping tablespoon of myself on top of them.
Listening to other people and not inserting myself into the conversation or their story has proved to uncomfortably difficult. But, it’s something I want to learn, and I’m going to try every day to do so.