Just recently, I confronted a person in a meeting who I found to unconsciously make me feel uncomfortable.
To be honest I felt I was brave at the time but looking back I feel we both were very brave people.
After listening for half an hour, I felt it was time for me to ask her a specific question on “why non-Indigenous people and/or organisations find it difficult to connect with Aboriginal community?”
She replies to me and says that;
“Well, you want to help, and you want to know and understand but at the same time you don’t want to offend. Sometimes you can be scared to approach.”
I thank her for being so genuine and honest with me and explain that her information can help me to connect my services to mainstream more accurately.
At this stage in the conversation, I completely had her attention and I kindly explained to her that I kind of knew she would respond with that answer and that from my observation I felt her fear and it made me uncomfortable.
Note, we have only just met for the first time and already we were breaking down barriers.
I told her with all of my honesty that she had made me feel very uncomfortable from the moment I walked in the room.
I had in front of me in my note pad a list of Aboriginal names and other multicultural situations that she had brought to my attention.
I told her that what made me feel uncomfortable, was the fact that she felt to mention all of the above people and circumstances and that it affected me negatively by drawing attention to me being different in the room.
My advice was to treat me and anyone else as if you would treat your own, because people sense fear, and that fear can make a person feel uncomfortable.
I didn’t judge her inner self for a second, I already sensed a kindness in her and a passion for community and bringing people together.
It was a truly inspiring moment for us both and if she is reading this article, I want to thank her again for that special moment and I hope we can have more breakthrough conversations like the previous.