It’s a question that is frequently asked by black people in the United States, a country where there is an estimated 1.7 million black people and the number is projected to reach 8.6 million by 2050.
Its an important question because if it is the case, then what about the other 1.5 million people who live in Australia?
“I am so sorry that we live in a country that allows us to be ignorant about black thinking and not know how to deal with it,” said one woman, who gave her name as Tanya.
“Black thought is the most important thinking because it can be applied to so many different things,” she said.
“We are talking about a lot of different things, so it is very important to be able to say that we are not just thinking about this one thing, we are thinking about so many things.”
One of the first thoughts many black people will have when faced with the question of how to live with a thought like Black Thought is how they are going to deal.
Tanya is among the hundreds of women, men and children who have attended a workshop organised by the National Association for Black Studies at the University of New South Wales.
The workshop aims to give the community an opportunity to think about the thinking patterns that black people hold and to learn how to develop a vocabulary of black thought that can be used to address different issues.
The first part of the workshop focused on black women’s understanding of the Black Power Movement and the importance of understanding the impact that it has had on the lives of black women and people of colour.
The focus of the second part of this workshop was on how to address racial discrimination in the workplace, and how to build a workplace that is welcoming and inclusive of all people.
The third part of Tanya’s workshop focused mainly on black male privilege.
The aim of this third part was to help people understand how to tackle white privilege in their everyday lives.
“What does white privilege look like?”
“How do you overcome white privilege?”
How are you going to talk about racism when you are living in a white community?
“You don’t know what white privilege looks like, but you know it’s there.”
For many of the women, the workshop was a great opportunity to learn about the ways in which white privilege is perpetuated in their lives.
But the other women also found it challenging to fully understand the ways white privilege works, and what it is that they have been taught to do not only about the black experience, but also about their own experiences of racism.
“There is so much white privilege, and we are all taught it, and it is just a way of life,” Tanya told news.com, “So it is hard to get that out of your mind.”
The workshop ended with the workshop participants sharing their own personal experiences with white privilege.
“I was the only one of us who didn’t have any experiences of white privilege because I didn’t know how or where to start,” said Karyn Kwon, who attended the workshop.
“When I was young I was always thinking that I had white privilege and white privilege was everywhere.
But I didn, so now I have the courage to admit that it’s not.”
For a number of women there were lessons learned from the workshop, and a few of them said they would be looking to implement them in their own lives.
Karen Wong, a 20-year-old Australian graduate student, said she wanted to work towards creating an environment where people of different backgrounds were able to interact without being judged.
“If I have a conversation with someone of colour, I think it would be much more inclusive if I could have them participate, rather than just them sitting there and talking,” she told news,com.AU.
I want to talk to them and I think, ‘This is how I am’ “People of colour should have a voice in this space and I would like to see more people of color talk to me,” said Ms Wong.
The workshop also brought together students from different backgrounds to discuss their experiences of racial injustice.
At the end of the event, many of those who had been participating in the workshop decided to leave the workshop feeling empowered, hopeful and optimistic.
Many women were particularly impressed by the level of respect shown to them by the facilitators, and they felt the community had responded well to the workshop’s efforts to educate and empower them.
“The whole thing was really uplifting for me,” Tasha said.
“I was just really happy that I got to experience something that I really love, that I feel a connection to, and that people were kind enough to show me that.”