Something I wrote on Twitter on Friday gained much more attention that I expected.
Here’s what I said:
- I am considering quiting the film industry. I am tired. Racists have gotten me down. I was offered my first TV writing job earlier this year. Only to find out the show was built on the backs of Muslim women. (thread. Unfortunately).
- I went to a support group for emerging female directors. Only to be interrupted by the white women in the group. I’ve had meetings with people in power. Who only have apologies and promises for the future. The future is now. The future is me.
- I look at my projects and I feel optimistic. They’re beautiful. They deserve better.
- I look at myself and see a tired woman with a broken heart. I look at the industry and see far too few allies and far too little chance for me to break through. No more of this. I’m done here.
As you can imagine, there was a lot of “Don’t quit!” “Try harder!” And a lot of “The world would be poorer without your voice.”
The world is poorer because it doesn’t give a crap about my voice. Not just mine, but a whole load of people, from what I can see.
I wrote a Twitter thread in response. But it didn’t thread up. What’s up with that, Twitter?
Anyway, as I expected, that thread got much less response than the first ‘woe is me’ thread. People love to see a Muslim woman cry but won’t do the work to make sure she doesn’t cry again.
So here’s my thread. Telling myself before anyone else what it means to be a true ally.
- The most wondrous thing people with privilege do is throw their hands and say ‘What can I do?’ I’ve heard that at least three times from people in power in the last few months. It literally makes me see stars.
- We should all check our privilege. I’ve got mine – I’m hetero, able-bodied, married, living in a Western country. I have almost no accent in English. I have a college education. None of these things have ANYTHING to do with my ability to do my job. But somehow people more readily believe I’m competent because of them. Still I am where I am today. I’d have probably given up much sooner without these privileges.
- I’ve been creating for years. The moment I share my trauma, everyone loves it. Don’t just elevate our trauma; elevate our joy too.
- Patterns are hard to break. If our brains are neuroplastic, surely our industries can change too. It’s a man-made system and made for men too; it’s up to you to unmake it.
- Racism is a white person’s mess. Not my job to clean it up. But because my brother charged me to leave the world better than I found it, here I am.
- Give people credits. No credits = this never happened. Credits = a resume. Credits +money = a professional career. Aim to give us professional careers.
- Upskill. Creativity is a toolbox. Share your tools. You’ll likely find underrepresented people have been doing unofficial and unaccredited learning from books, YouTube videos and seminars for years. This doesn’t mean that learning isn’t valuable.
- Look at your life and your career. Find the gaps. Find the spaces.
- Listen to us. We’re angry and we’re sad. Don’t be defensive. There is no longer any defense or any excuse. All of this information is on the Internet for free. All it takes is a Google, but here I am, like a helpful Sri Lankan housekeeper, cleaning up your mess. Again.
- Work ‘with’ us. Not ‘over’ us.
- Your Mileage May Vary.
- Please donate to this family. We all need each other in this brutal world: https://www.launchgood.com/campaign/siddiqah__azraqee__recessive_dystrophic_epidermolysis_bullosa_1#!/
- Please watch my film. If it gets to a 1000 views, I might be able to get an associate membership from the Australian Director’s Guild!
Anyway I’m taking an extended break and trying different things. And trying not to cry too much.
But I know nothing is forever and things change.