Privilege and language trauma

This last Māori Language Week, more than any other, was really tough for lots of people.

I’ve felt compelled to tautoko friends who were criticised in the media and online, while also taking my own share of attacks.

I also reacted and dealt it out. Some of the criticism was fair, some was careful, and some was unkind — and just about all of us did a mix of all three.

The kōrero that really cut deep, for me, went something like this: “If you’re privileged enough to speak Māori, you don’t understand language trauma.”

There’s a really difficult intersection between trauma, privilege, and second-language learning. The assumption that I’m too privileged to understand this, hurts.

It’s these comments that have left me feeling whakamā and unstable. I found myself caught up in anger even though I’m usually a pretty critical but careful guy.

As the dust settles following Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori, I feel like I’ve been through all the stages of grief. I’m unsure what part I play now, and I don’t know what to do next.

Link to article: Privilege and language trauma - E-Tangata


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