I've been reflecting on privilege over the last week since it came up during the last session of Be. Leadership. The questions I've been grappling with are: Should you use your privilege for your own benefit? And how do you use your privilege for the benefit of others and the betterment of society, even humanity. Having just watched I, Daniel Blake, I have some answers.
The movie is a testament to privilege — particularly its contextual complexity. It's raw and British-made — the story of a middle aged carpenter who is denied state welfare after having a heart attack and who supports a single mother in a similar scenario. Notably, it critiques a cruel, unfeeling bureaucracy that is designed to create enough resistance to make people give up fighting and go without welfare assistance. It also presents an older man, Daniel Blake, who is unwell and a younger solo mum, Katie, both of whom have different forms of privilege, as well as a lack of it.
The issue of assessing students has come under fire in recent weeks, with international tests revealing student performance is plummeting. Science presenter and particle physicist Professor Brian Cox has said, "if the measurement of ... a student’s progress ... is removing time from practical science, then it had better be bloody useful because practical science is bloody useful."
The problem I see with assessing students in the uniform way in which most schools do — most usually through written assignments and tests — is that it's a one size fits all approach to measuring performance. It doesn't work for many because students are complex, dynamic and diverse.
We're twenty days into 2017 and I can't believe how much change has happened in my life. I've started a new relationship. I've had a young rabbit turn up, which I looked after for a couple of weeks before finding another home for him. My boarder has moved out after four years, so I have my house to myself again, and I've created a whole new "chill-out" space with the extra room.
My new cosy nook — a work in progress
Conflict — it's easy to avoid. In fact, we often do anything we can to avoid it (well, I do). Often that means not doing anything.
Within the last 24 hours I was involved in a conflict situation with a colleague. I won't go into the detail — it's irrevelent. But the process the two of us went through — an action, a reaction by me that created conflict and then a conversation to come to a resolution — reminded me that, even though it is acutely uncomfortable, when handled constructively, conflict can have truly positive outcome.
Last week I blogged about my purpose. I said I felt purposeless, and wondered if being purposeless was, in fact, my purpose for now.
I've changed my mind. I wonder if surrendering my purpose was part of rediscovering it. I also wonder if my parents bringing a whole lot of newspaper clipping from when I was born has helped me remember.
John Key has just announced an "overhaul of the family violence prevention system."
If it was a Labour government I'd be thinking, "About time." Under National, though, I fear it may be an exercise in bullying families in low socio-economic circumstances, rather than looking at the systemic oppression that often contributes to family violence.
I wrote the other day about my own experience of anxiety and my thoughts that we have emerged into an age of anxiety. While I tried to keep it light, it's a dark topic.
It has occurred to me since that one of the most healing behaviours for me, both during my period of acute anxiety and now as I still experience low-level but chronic anxiety is my ability to laugh. Laughing in the face of fear and dis-ease is challenging, but it has an incredibly positive effect.
Update 6 January 2016
According to the NZ Herald, "the woman who says she had her teeth knocked out for speaking Te Reo outside an Auckland karaoke bar has been charged with assault alongside her alleged attacker." A police statement said, "The version of events given by the 46-year-old female is not substantiated by this footage."
A woman was punched in the face and lost five teeth on New Year's Eve, because she spoke Te Reo. She said, "Ka kite ano (see you later)," to friends, then was sworn and shouted at by a man for being "palagi" and speaking Māori. When she challenged him back, he attacked her.
Happy New Year. I hope your celebrations were safe and fun.
I've started 2016 by creating a brand, spanking new website for Diversity New Zealand — you can see it here! (I know, I'm a geek!)
As welfare states come crashing down around the (western) world, the demand for employment and requirement to be employed increase. New Zealand's welfare lexicon has changed from "beneficiary" to the default "jobseeker".
Meanwhile industry and technology improves, meaning more machines, computers and robots do more and more jobs for us. I mean, that has been the whole idea of industrial and technological revolutions, hasn't it? To decrease the need for humans to do stuff.