Sunday, 3 February 2019

When Women Stand Together

I have spent seven wonderful days at sea, with amazing women, our common link the organisation RevGalBlogPals. We gathered at sea to hear words, to share stories, to study scripture, specifically Hebrew Scripture, and womanist* stories of oppression and domination.

What will be the enduring memories?
What will be my new hashtag?

I am saddened to report that my enduring memory will not be the laughter, the sistership, the learning from each other, and the inspirational Rev Dr Wilda Gafney.

Instead it will be the ugly face of racism, compounded by an unwillingness to listen and respond to the pain and the improper behaviour of one employee of the giant cruise line Carnival.

My sisters dealt with the stress and the ugliness without sharing with the wider group. This spared us. But also leaves me feeling helpless to respond, or react. I do not know, we cannot know if the unfolding catalogue of missed opportunities and minimal response would have been any different if instead of 14 voices the management had been bombarded with 63 complaints. 

Our sisters have been supported, championed, by the President of our Board, and our Director. They have been carried by those who were part of the initial incident, and the subsequent one. (Yes, subsequent!) 

But why is this even necessary? This is the 21st Century. We are educated. We are articulate. And yet a man was able to disempower and ridicule legitimate complaints. 
The lack of appropriate response.
The clear void in understanding does nothing to encourage me to consider cruising with Carnival again. 

Carnival needs to address the systemic racism and misogyny that appears to be endemic within their structures. Education of all employees needs to be stepped up, so that every member of staff recognises and calls out inappropriate behaviour in their colleagues, they need to not defend the indefensible. 

The cruise “bubble” is no excuse. 

you can read RevGalBlogPals statment and open letter here 

*Womanist = women of colour who stand up for themselves and their sisters, in our context within the biblical narrative


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