Those of you that know me in real life know that I will quite cheerfully vent my spleen about things I feel strongly about. Social injustice, politics, and many more, to name but a few. I've always been conscious that my business pages should be steadily neutral, or 'professional'. We get taught this, right? It's a business, opinion doesn't come into it. Well, not this time sunshine. Now is the time to speak. To shout. To be angry. To be anti racist; as being nonracist isn't an option any more.
I've been following the news, watching the lives, reading the comments, and I'm heartbroken. And angry.
Why? Systemic racism, oppression, colonialism, and so much more; going back through centuries. And it's not just America. It's happening right here. On our doorstep. It has been for a long time, and enough is enough.
I'm white, I already have privilege. But I'm trying to learn, I'm listening. I want to be a better person, a better ally, and once again; I am ANGRY.
Black Lives Matter. This shouldn't have to be a thing; it shouldn't have to be said. But it does. And I will keep repeating it, having those difficult conversations, calling out that racist behaviour; and basically doing more to be a better ally.
I was watching Rachel Rodger's live (You can catch it here: https://www.facebook.com/693186880/videos/10157161743191881/ ) about the 'good white liberal response', and it hit home. Badly hit home. I haven't done enough. Many of us haven't done enough. She spoke of taking the risk - that people are too worried to take the risk; lose business, lose followers and so on. That is our privilege speaking. I don't have to worry about taking that risk by stepping outside my front door, or going online. That isn't a concern I've ever had to worry myself about, because I'm white. But I've realised that I've subconsciously created a bubble; avoided those uncomfortable discussions, and that stops now. I have to speak my mind – I’m in a privileged enough position to do so, and if I lose followers and customers through doing this, then so be it (that’s an incredibly scary thing to say, but nevertheless, it needs saying).
So what now? Well, I vow to be a better ally; by having those discussions, reading the resources, and DOING THE WORK. The way I see it; this situation has been caused by white people, so why should it be down to Black people to fix it? It shouldn't. And that includes adding to the emotional labour of Black people fighting this fight. Are you exhausted by reading the hideous mindless comments online? I know I am. I can’t even imagine how exhausting that must be when you’re already living through it EVERY DAMN DAY.
'The burden of the brutalised is not to educate the bystander' (Jesse Williams)
Which is why I’m telling you about what I’m doing to be a better ally. The resources I’ve found, and a call to action, if you will. I implore you to do the same. Read, learn, educate yourself, make proactive choices, question your own internal belief system, call out behaviour that is racist, have those awkward conversations.
I’ve included a link of resources at the bottom of this blog that I’m making my way through; and if any of you have any resources that you’d like to add, please feel free to drop them in the comments.
I’m also open to have that conversation – why is it awkward, why does it feel weird? Want to know something, but a bit unsure where to ask? Why not ask the hive mind of the good ol’ internet, and let’s see if we can’t work it out between us; we can all stand to learn more and do more.
Fair warning though – if you come at it with ‘all lives matter’, then be prepared to be jumped upon by lots of tired angry folk.
And a last word – to all my friends, customers, loved ones and each and every one beside: I love you, I stand with you. I see and I celebrate your heritage, our differences, and our similarities, and am so appreciative for having you in my life, and making my life richer. And on behalf of so many white people: I am sorry.
(Photograph is taken at a socially distanced protest today, in my home town. We couldn't attend, but we were there in spirit. Thank you guys - you're awesome)