After the recent death of George Floyd at the hands of white police officers (who have since been charged) in the United States of America, there has been an increase in social media posts from celebrities, big corporations, and every day people standing together to be united in the movement – Black Lives Matter.
Acknowledging racism is a brilliant first step, and calling it out is a must. The next step, is education. Educating yourself and others are crucial. The increased awareness becomes useful as it enables and even accelerates changes in policies, allows people to come together to demand justice and eventually reduce racism, both within the system and outside it.
It is important that we all first of all listen what is going on. You can use this moment to assess your privilege and learn what steps you can take to help. Read up on how our black allies are struggling, their everyday troubles. You don’t have to feel the need to take to social media to post something to deal with your own guilt. Allowing space for a black person to talk about this and their experiences with more authenticity than the media.
Making sure that you educate yourself is a must. Read up on racism; to gain a clear understanding of the matter (see below for some great examples). Pay attention to your white privilege and acknowledge it. Once you have acknowledged your white privilege use it as a way of influencing others.
I’ve been getting a lot of questions from my non-Black friends about how to be a better ally to Black people. I suggest unlearning and relearning through literature as just one good jumping off point, and have broken up my anti-racist reading list into sections: pic.twitter.com/gj5uko69OY
— Victoria Alexander (@victoriaalxndr) May 30, 2020
White privilege is simply the safety and security you are born with – your skin colour. If you are pulled over by a police officer in your car and you don’t fear for your life as you know the worst that will happen is you’ll get a speeding ticket – there is your white privilege.
Act, challenge racism and use your voice. You know it is wrong. Challenge other peoples racism, teach them.
It is important to hear the voices of black people above your own, however it is hard to understand when you have grown up in a system that protects you, that not everyone has that privilege. It’s time to open your eyes, I think many have. There have been difficult conversations recently to do with George Floyd’s murder. These conversations are important and we need to continue having them. There is no quick fix to racism or the thousands of years of inequalities that plague us and the rest of the western world. The most crucial conversation is one you will need to have with yourself. Anti-racism is an active process, it is not passive, and it requires you to seriously challenge many of the beliefs and opinions you have grown up with.
With access to many different types of media today, it allows for people to educate themselves on the Black Lives Matter movement and other forms of racism. For example, Netflix’s ‘When They See Us’ is a perfect representation of how horrendous things can be for black people just because of the colour of their skin. It is definitely worth a watch.
There are many ways that you can support the black lives matter movement:
- Sign some petitions – Black Lives Matter have had a petition going for years. Add you name to the list!
- Hold your MP accountable – You are able to find your local MP here.
- Donate– If you have the financial privileges to donate then what is stopping you?
- Speak up – your voice is powerful.
- Ensure you are an ally.
Racism isn’t just prelevent in the USA, it is worldwide. Outright or done indirectly, dealing with racism is actually draining, disheartening and demoralising. People with privilege, being unaware of it, might not realise they are being racist through their words and actions! This is why it becomes important to educate yourself on the matter. Use this moment to learn and challenge yourself.