you may say i’m a dreamer but i hope i am not the only one

“This would be only possible in the ideal world,” she said. I agree, but that does not keep me from trying.

The past couple of weeks, I heard the remark given by several people. “But this would only be possible…” urgh. Let me dream, and maybe we could incorporate some bits of that dream. The part of the dream of inclusiveness for all neurodiversity. The part of the dream of equity for all and everyone. The part of the dream of transparant and fair rules.

I know the world will never be perfect; and it should not be, mistakes are needed and actually perfect; they enable learning and growth. But does this keep us from pursuing a better world?!

“It has been this messy for years”… “It’s a habit that we all use as a guideline”… “we do this all the time”… uhu… so I should just accept inconsistencies, injustice, and unfairness as ‘part of the deal’?

A colleague told me: “apologies about being absent last week, my family received some very bad news.’ And I replied: ‘Well, that is part of life.” And I sat on my own remark for a week. I meant: “spill it out, we are colleagues, but our private life still affects us at work, work and life are strongly intertwined, so very common and we are all humans, so please do share because I know and feel how life can feel in shitty times.”

“We should think about diversity in terms of skin colo(u)r” – should we? My spontaneous reaction was: “I strongly believe that diversity is in each ‘tone’; all shapes, ways, or forms. “Yes, but that is in the ideal world, history urges us to set quota in place, and do positive discrimination, because we are way behind.” That day, I scheduled a ‘chill’ day and I watched Green Book… Not at all chill. It made me very angry at myself. How ignorant of me to think that we are ready for real equity and inclusion.

But still; you may say I am a dreamer, but I do hope I am not the only one.

I picked my children early at school that day. Still weepy because I am ‘fortunate’ because of my skin colo(u)r, but feel left out and excluded from society and feel unfortunate because of communication difficulties or potential social disability. At the same time, I was still angry with myself; I do not have many people in my network from a different ‘race’; how can I state that I am an advocate of equity and inclusion?! I tracked my professional network and found very few people with different skin colo(u)rs. And I started thinking; I live in a very diverse and colorful region of the city of Ghent (Belgium). As a big city, we have so many different people with so many different backgrounds. I live in an area which is seen as a little bit of the ‘ghetto-side’ of our city. But I have not seen many ‘black’ people or people from a different race at the higher institute of our city… Why is that? This was increasingly confrontational…

I decided to pass by my childrens’ old kindergarten (schools in our city have different ending hours of school because otherwise traffic would get trapped). When we had to select a kindergarten for our children, we looked for a school that represented our region; colorfull and diverse. The school had 1 teacher of color. On the way, I asked my children: “What was the difference between teacher A, B, and C?”. My oldest (8yo) said: “C winks a lot with her eyes” and my youngest: “B always took me on her lap” and back to my daughter (my children complement each other well 😉 ) “and A is very good and sports and played a lot of games with us.” – “Okay”, i said, “and do they look different?” – “erm? what do you mean? no? They are all tall, all have brown hair, and all have curly hair… maybe one has less tight curls, and the others have less tight curls… but not really different.”

That evening, I asked my oldest about skin color and the differences between the teachers. She said: “skin color is not a real difference, it is not black and white like the printer we use, it has different shades. I am very pale, and our neighbours (‘white’) are less pale, and somebody else can be a little bit darker, but when I mend or mix paint, I use the same building blocks.”

Yes, I have a little piece of my ideal world at home, and I love it. I just keep dreaming. Will keep dreaming.

(Potentially/Probably, there may/will be times that I struggle with the harsh reality, please give me some credit then 😉 and handle me (and everybody else) with care and velvet gloves – Many thanks!)

/this text is unpolished and may be rough around the edges, feedback is welcomed\

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