#creativeHE, Accessibility, Antiracism, Being visible, Disability, Discrimination, HigherEd, Inclusivity

Celebrating World Creativity & Innovation with #creativeHE

What I have been up to since I started the first draft of my first poem? Well, ‘I Noticed’ evolved into something more like Eye Noticed. Recently, I have been trying to find some creative ways of tackling racism within UK HE and Eye Noticed was inspired from personal experience as a victim of continuous microaggressions. I obviously had to add a pinch of intersectionality and also wanted to celebrate the uniqueness and diversity of everyone who reads it. I have been sitting on “I Noticed” for a month, but then Eye Noticed just came out in a flow, perhaps from the frustration of all those microaggressions. The poem is written in the first person, so many of you may find yourself somewhere in this poem, but I do sincerely hope your struggle does not last long. I have included at the bottom:

  • an explanation of the message I wanted to convey in each stanza
  • links to a creative project where you can contribute under the creative commons licence
  • some articles with staggering numbers that might help throw some perspectives on the meaning of the poem.

Eye Noticed

Eye noticed the colour of my skin

Eye noticed the colour of my hair

Eye noticed the colour of my eyes

And Whoosh Whoosh Whoosh!

Eye noticed the shape of my body

Eye noticed my disability

Eye noticed my rasta hair

And Shush Shush Shush!

Eye noticed the tattoo on my face

Eye noticed my burly figure

Eye noticed my extreme piercings

And Ack Ack Ack!

Eye noticed the rashes on my face

Eye noticed my skin burns

Eye noticed my patched eye

And Beurk Beurk Beurk!

I speak of how I feel

I speak of what I need

I speak with clarity

Eye noticed

Whoosh, Shush, Ack, Beurk!

Until ….

Eye noticed the colour of my blood

Khuda jaane, ye surkh hein!

என்ன கொடுமை சரவணன் இது?

Eye noticed the colour of my skin
Eye noticed the colour of my hair
Eye noticed the colour of my eyes

And Whoosh Whoosh Whoosh!

This refers to your immediate unconscious bias
when you notice:
the colour of my skin
the colour of my hair
the colour of my eyes

Whoosh whoosh whoosh
and you jump to conclusions
Also referring to the speed of neurones connecting the eye, to your brain and subconscious mind
Eye noticed the shape of my body
Eye noticed my disability
Eye noticed my rasta hair

And Shush Shush Shush!
This refers to you avoiding me
when you notice:
the shape of my body
my physical disability
my rasta hair

Shush shush shush
and you silence me
Also referring to you dismissing my existence, hushing me, ostracising me
Eye noticed the tattoo on my face
Eye noticed my burly figure
Eye noticed my extreme piercings

And Ack Ack Ack!
This refers to your expression of surprise and dismay
when you notice:
my preference for creativity
my well built and healthy body
me accessorising the way I want

Ack ack ack
and you say you are concerned about me
Also referring to your inability to go beyond your comfort zone and be broad-minded, and you telling me you are concerned about me
Eye noticed the rashes on my face
Eye noticed my skin burns
Eye noticed my patched eye

And Beurk Beurk Beurk!
This refers to your belief in physical beauty and judgement
when you notice:
my skin which is not hidden behind cosmetics
my skin burnt from an acid attack
my single eye, I wear a patch to look funny to avoid your comments

Beurk beurk beurk
The French expression for yuck, disgust so much so you want to throw up
Also referring to our belief in a perfection that does not exist
I speak of how I feel
I speak of what I need
I speak with clarity
Eye noticed

Whoosh, Shush, Ack, Beurk!
This refers to me standing up for myself
I raise my concerns as best as I can
I seek your empathy
I tell you what you should do to stop this

Whoosh, Shush, Ack, Beurk
You jump to conclusion
You silence me
You are shocked
You are disgusted
Also referring to whichever I do, your bias will continue. Even if I tell you the truth behind that one eye which I lost in an accident, the tattoo which I have to cover my amputated breast from cancer, the gender-reaffirming surgery which I had to finally feel comfortable with myself, your judgement will not stop. UNTIL …
Until
Eye noticed the colour of my blood
People are seldom appreciated in their lifetime.

Also referring to it is their deaths, and most of the time, their horrible deaths, with blood splattered, that reminds us that we all share the same colour of blood, that we all are of the human race. You might be more familiar with the death of George Floyd, but countless people die every day because of some sort of discrimination.
Khuda jaane, ye surkh hein!Urdu and Hindi mixed
God knows, it is red!
என்ன கொடுமை சரவணன் இது?Enna Kodumai Saravana Idhu
A popular expression emanating from Kollywood, equivalent to a facepalm action over a huge problem at hand.
This has also become a common expression among comedians.
When faced with a problem, and the normal solutions do not work, we turn to comedy.

Saravana is the male protagonist in the movie, and Saravana is also the name of a Hindu God.
Also referring to whether you are an atheist or religious, the reaction to discrimination is a facepalm, it is so obvious yet so invisible to you.

Please support my creative project against digital inequality by contributing photos to this slide deck.

Embracing creativity and OER for digital equality

Flashcards to raise digital inequalities awareness in the educational sector – an OER practice for solutions

If the poem does not hit you, perhaps a few of those figures and articles would:

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