Finding one’s sense of origin & belonging
Finding ‘one’s self’ or Finding ‘one’s center’
Everyone knows that unsettled feeling of when you are trying to describe a ‘group of people(s)’ in it’s entirety or that feeling of when you are talking to someone from a so-called different ‘group’ than your own and you have the inner struggle of deciding which “term” to use to describe ‘them’ and yet not offend them!
Like, which term do I use? Which term is offensive? Which term describes ALL of ‘them’? Is there even a term that suits everyone? Does everyone prefer different terms?
And as you can see from my writing style above, even I am having a hard time describing these ‘people’ even though I don’t know which people I am even talking about, in fear of offending someone or implying that they are ‘others’ and I am not. Tossing out apostrophes and quotations marks as though I have no idea how to write in English.
These are tough waters to navigate! So please follow me on my journey and show me moral support as I attempt to do so!
To start it all of. We all know those certain buzz words that we know SHOULD NOT be used but yet there is some ambiguity in which ones we should! I don’t think I need to make mention of the words I am referring to either, we all know. Yet, we are all in the same search for answers of which umbrella term is safe to use for all people(s) of a certain group. If it even exists, I don’t know yet. My first instinct is that, no, it doesn’t. Just like in all other aspects of life, we are all different and possess different preferences. What offends one person, may be the preference of another. So, how the hell are we supposed to know!?
Identity is fluid
What someone prefers to be called today may endure change. I am starting to realize that it is OKAY to make a mistake. The person likely is not offended by what you call them so long as you are willing to adapt your term upon their preference. To be stagnant and inflexible in your terminology of people with be the cause of the problem. Being humble and unafraid to make mistakes to learn and grow alongside others is the key! Just be unafraid to stand corrected and don’t be offended when you do.
People(s) are very complex. You are complex. We can’t begin to get to know everyone, but we can TRY.
How do you describe yourself? I can’t say Canadian… because that is to ambiguous. That doesn’t tell you anything about myself other than the geographical location in which I live. To say that I am WHITE sounds offensive to myself due to our history. To say non- Native sounds offensive to ‘First Nations’ people. So really, who am I?
the non-Indigenous peoples living in Canada who form the European-descended sociopolitical majority
Well, that doesn’t sound right either, and it definitely doesn’t just roll off the tongue!
Let me try to get this right.
I am a white settler living on the land now referred to as Canada. I am a life-long learner attempting to navigate the rapid waters to a world of acceptance and harmony. I am a wanderer, seeking my place.
If you want a simpler ‘term’ as we all do, just call me Lacey because that’s about as simple as I can put it.
Vowel, C. (2017). Indigenous writes: a guide to First Nations, Métis & Inuit issues in Canada. Vancouver, B.C.: Langara College.