When our identity is threatened

Christine McDougall
2 min readJun 9, 2024

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Yesterday I was in a conversation with two professors and a friend at Cambridge University. We were sitting in the lovely sunshine on a pristine English lawn.

My friend was talking about a prestigious event she went to hosted by an English Lord, a man well known for his action in the climate space. At this event, a diminutive Indian woman raised her hand and spoke about the intersectionality between climate change and colonisation. Hearing these contradictory words in one sentence -

Lord “X” and the effects of colonisation on climate change -

it was immediately apparent that the only way Lord “X” could face this juxtaposition was by also facing his entire identity as a Lord.

When our identity is threatened by a truth it is very hard to confront the truth, for to do so means we have to dismantle everything that we have built our lives on.

Lord “X”, if he really did confront the truth of the total entanglement of climate and colonisation, would at one stage have to dismantle the story of his life and ancestry. The title “Lord” would also have to be dismantled — the underpinnings of the political and power class that sanctioned, and still sanctions, colonisation.

Confronting truth that simultaneously eradicates our identity is an act of extraordinary courage. After the truth is confronted, we then get to reconcile who we are and rebuild almost every story we have held as right.

While we must indeed confront the most painful truths including ones that dismantle our identity, we might also have a little compassion and grace for those who have accepted the journey of confronting the truth.

For to ridicule and rage at those facing the journey is to become the very bully that the colonisers have been, replacing one dominating power with another. June 9th 2024

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Christine McDougall

Committed to supporting those in business who strive to leave the world better. syntropic.world