Out of Sight

In the process of being vulnerable (and creative), there will always be information and ideas that remain hidden.

Directing a play, for example, requires one to be on high alert for that which is unseen. An actor may suddenly say a line in a way that completely unhinges the entire scene, and if you pay attention to that new delivery, it could allow you to see what you’ve been rehearsing in an entirely new light. There is always potential to learn something and reshape your approach.

Same goes for community-building. There may be information being passed around that makes you feel a certain way about a person or loved one. But what’s the missing information? What are the facts hidden from view that would allow you to see things differently or more holistically?

I feel we too often close ourselves off and ignore the fact we can’t know everything.

I’ve been thinking about this during the protests happening in the US and around the world. I’ve seen white people get riled up because they assume they have all their facts straight. To them, Black people might be “overreacting”. But do they know the history? Do they know what the Black community has actually been facing, and how more “peaceful” protests have failed them in the past? Do they have all the information, or are they acting on something partial and biased?

We have to face the difficult truth that we often don’t know everything. Whether that’s in a rehearsal room, in our circle of friends, on Twitter, or out on the streets. We have to practise listening, and effective listening happens when we accept that we have things to learn. Communities have been silenced for too long and it is time for white people, who are supported by our current systems and policies, to take up less space. So, fellow white people: leave real estate in your minds for what you do not yet know. Listen.

Another book I’m adding to my list: How to Argue With a Racist by Adam Rutherford.

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