I don’t often post in response to racism. It’s usually because I tell myself that it’s not my place, or that there are louder voices closer to the situation, but I’m starting to realise that I used those thoughts as a cover for my anxiety and discomfort. I didn’t want to alienate myself from the people around me who also wouldn’t talk about racism. If there’s one thing a lot of people don’t like, it’s being called out on their shit.
I posted a run of the mill self promo post yesterday even though it felt wrong to do so. I felt the pressure of so many other people doing the same and I knew that even if people thought it was crass they wouldn’t say anything because so many others were doing it. It struck me as crazy this morning that my mind even processed the situation like that. How can ignoring something so cruel and powerful feel more comfortable than talking about it? We’ve all been given yet again another tragic reminder through the murder of George Floyd of how messed up the world is yet we’re continuing as normal, as we always do, giving the perpetrators permission to continue to oppress and murder. We chose to leave it up to those directly impacted to fight day in day out alone. Imagine the power we could have if we worked together to uplift their voices.
Things will go back to ‘normal’. It’s up to us what ‘normal’ is. It’s in our hands to make a new normal, one in which the colour of someone’s skin doesn’t determine if they’ll make it out of an encounter with the police alive. How do we do this? We do this by refusing to shut up. We do this by being actively anti-racist, we do this by ensuring that this isn’t forgotten about, and that we take every opportunity to learn and grow and be better as individuals and a community. It won’t happen over night, but it is possible. A positive change only happens if we acknowledge that systematic racism is real, dangerous, and that we are all susceptible to it. Racism is so deeply ingrained in our society that a man was murdered on camera for the world to see by a police officer and it took riots to even see a hint of what is being called justice. That this has happened and there are countless numbers of people who haven’t said a word about it, again I understand why, but it’s insanity when you think about it.
A lot of people are angry right now, many have been for a long time, and I want to use the anger that I feel to do something. All that most of us can do at the moment is raise awareness, sign petitions, donate, and try to be better people in the grand scheme. I’m hoping a few people see this and join me in doing all you can. We need to keep that anger alight and keep trying to make changes and be better. This isn’t something to post about now and forget about, this is something we need to incorporate into our thought processes, into how we raise our children, and how we act and talk to our family and friends and strangers.
I am writing this in the hope that I can direct some of my family and friends to it, especially those who have insisted to me that racism doesn’t exist anymore. I also strongly urge everyone to do some research for yourselves, and please remember it is not the responsibility of black people or any oppressed person to educate you.
As anxious as posting this makes me, it’s nothing compared to the anxiety people face who don’t have my white privilege. Be uncomfortable, and seek to understand why, use that to become better people and to help create a safer world for everyone. This isn’t about me, or you, it’s about everyone and everything, it’s about right and wrong, and in being silent we’re all just giving those who continue to oppress and violate permission to do it. It’s up to all of us to speak together to say that we won’t stand for this anymore.
See the below links for ways you can help right now and other useful reading materials written by people far more eloquent and knowledgable than me to continue to help in the fight against racism and injustice.