Today was the first day of school.
I didn’t take a business degree. It bothers me because I feel like there is all this stuff I should know, because I work in business. There’s stuff I know $5 about, and stuff I google late at night because “next best alternative to a negotiated agreement?”. Who knew?
You want to talk hegemonic stability theory, the prisoner’s dilemma, Giffen goods and Aristotelian ethics? Oh, I’m all over that. I’ve taught myself the basics of enterprise architecture, I write papers on process. I haven’t stopped learning. I just didn’t take the commerce degree.
There was a guy in my class, and he was wearing a shirt and tie.
It was Sunday.
At 8:30 am.
A shirt and tie.
ON THE WEEKEND.
I upped my game from my undergrad degree. I wore a t-shirt dress and a cardigan. Nice flats. Makeup!
No birks. No jeans. No flannel shirts. My hair looked good. I had a freaking manicure!
I say all of this because before noon my voting preferences and the idea of safe spaces – things that I hold sacred – were mocked. No one said a word. I looked around, waiting for someone or even the instructor, to raise their hand an call a time out. Nope.
These are not my people.
When I come right down to it, my nervousness for the last few weeks, my obsession over clothing, my worries and my fears:
I want them to like me.
I want to fit in.
I want to be a cool kid.
Tomorrow I’m going to be the woman to telling someone from Oak Bay- with a median house price over a million dollars, a population that is 92% white, in an area that has more private high schools than public ones . . .
Safe spaces matter.
When you are a white, straight, educated, middle aged, upper middle class man in North America, the world is made for you. You have probably never felt unsafe. You never feeling unsafe does not mean that no one ever feels unsafe. Your lived experience is not everyone’s. You don’t have to live everyone’s experience. You do need to listen and try and understand.
It’s hard to imagine how this is going to go wrong. Who doesn’t want to hear this?
I’m wearing Birks and Jeans tomorrow.
I’m lighting the idea of people liking me on fire.
I’m wearing comfy shoes and jeans while I do it.
It’s kind of amazing and disconcerting when you realize that what appear to be perfectly rational people hold values completely contrasting to your own. Good for you for trying to get them to understand their own blinders. (Likewise, I’m sure they think you have blinders on. Be open to their ideas too.)