I have grown up in a world where I literally give no thought to my skin colour.
- I feel safe and comfortable in public spaces
- When I watch TV and movies I see characters who look like me and who have life experiences I can relate to
- I know I’ll get good health service, no matter what I am wearing
- I have never been followed in a store because of how I look
- If I get pulled over by the police I feel confident the officer will be friendly and polite to me
- If my kid has a hard time at school I never wonder if it’s because of the colour of his skin
- I have never worried someone might take my kid away because I’m having a bad parenting moment
- At work, if I have an awkward interaction with someone, I never think it’s because I look different than they do
- In job interviews I can easily find common ground with the person interviewing me
- How I enjoy nature is supported by whole industries
These examples show the privilege I have across all social systems: safety, media, health, judicial, education, child protection, economic, employment, and tourism.
What is a social system?
Social systems include obvious rules I can point to that tells me I can do one thing and not something else. They are the guidelines, regulations, policies, and procedures people create in the process of working together. Social systems are buildings, public spaces, and roads. Social systems include how I relate to my natural world.
If you have read my posts over the last 3 days you will know I think the link between working toward community goals (community development) and fairness for everyone across all social systems (racial justice) is community capacity building.
The fourth way I think of community capacity building is when there are positive changes in the policies, procedures, rules, and regulations that make up our social systems. Changing the rules and regulations that make up our social systems is important because currently they are NOT fair for all people. In fact, our systems are built on benefiting some people at the expense of others.
Just as my values touch you through what I do, our social systems are expressions of our collective beliefs. As our social systems work in unfair ways, I hope you will ask yourself: what are the hidden beliefs that are guiding them? Do I believe those values to be true?
To me, Day 46 (Puzzled) looks like capacity building in social systems. Just as this person is creating the puzzle in front of them, our social systems are built by the people within them. I uphold social systems when I go through my life and don’t question the rules that create systems, the hidden beliefs that go into making those rules, or who benefits from those rules and who doesn’t. What piece am I contributing today?
Tomorrow is the last day I’ll be contributing to the Wellness Almanac. I will share a story about the interconnections between all four areas of community capacity building and how I learned a lesson on racial justice.
My thinking about capacity building has been directly influenced by the work of Ken Wilbur and the Integral Model. For more information check out: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Integral_theory_(Ken_Wilber)