Black Lives Matter
The recent murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, and Ahmaud Arbery shed a light on something that has been going on for far too long (in bright daylight so light isn't the right word, shed a camera is more accurate). People of colour live in fear daily. Many face violence for going for a run, bird-watching, sleeping in their bed, eating at a restaurant- all activities that I do comfortably without second guessing because of the skin I was born with (White Privilege). Systematic racism is deep-rooted in societies all around the world. This needs to change. We need to change.
There is a quote I saw/heard on Jenn Im's recent video, "Speaking up is a muscle" that resonated so deeply with me, as someone who usually just silently agrees on the side. Activism or fighting for change is like a sport. You first need to listen/watch/learn or have a coach to guide you on how to do it correctly. It may feel weird at the beginning, you'll make mistakes and you may want to give up at the first challenge that comes your way, but with constant learning and practicing you'll become better at it.
Educating yourself is such a good place to start because it'll have a ripple effect on everyone (current and future) in your life. I decided to do this first because I didn't want to speak without fully knowing what I was talking about. Also, I worried that simply reposting with a hashtag would not turn into long term change. I felt that at the worst it would show performance activism, and at best unity for the time being. I couldn't guide or have conversations with the people around me without checking myself first. It takes work. If you really listen and reflect, you'll start to feel uncomfortable. This is part of the process and necessary for change, because it's not whether or not you're racist—it's what role you play in racism. Here are a few tools to begin...
A TEDx talk by anti-racism campaigner Nova Reid.
The first video I came across that left a lasting impact on me is the one above by Nova Reid. This was the first time I had ever heard of the term 'microaggression', and realized I have done these in my life. I now understand how these things that “I didn’t mean like that” add up and can be worse than flat out hate. I understand that my impact matters more than my intention. Nova Reid also hosts a podcast and an anti-racism course.
Worthy by SWOOP
"We demand the right to live in our own skin without being afraid of our lives being cut short." This short film by Swoop is incredibly powerful. It really highlights the horrible prejudicial experiences Black people go through.
After listening so many people's stories recently, something I'm committing to long-term is being more conscious of who I follow and actively seeking to have a diversity of people in my life. This includes different looks, opinions, cultures, and experiences.
I just finished ‘Me and White Supremacy’ by Layla F. Saad . It taught me that “you cannot dismantle what you cannot see” & “If you do not see the ways you are part of the problem, you cannot be part of the solution.” To figure out the role I play in racism, it took looking inward & being really honest with myself, this book gave me the thought-provoking questions & tools to do that. This is because it's a 28-day, part-book, part-journal that requires reflection, and therefore helps you to acknowledge the changes needed in your life. Layla's Instagram account is also a place I continue to learn from.
Other books I'm adding to my reading list:
In this book Robin outlines how 'Nice White People' can still be complicit in a racist society. Without a conscious effort you will always be protected by White Privilege.
(I'm reading this now)
“Kendi dissects why in a society where so few people consider themselves to be racist the divisions and inequalities of racism remain so prevalent. How to Be an Antiracist punctures the myths of a post-racial America, examining what racism really is—and what we should do about it.”—Time
Understanding the history of racism is also important. The knowledge I gained from watching this documentary has helped me to explain things better to my older family members (incidents that happened during their generation that have led to this and why it needs to change).
Episode 11: #GoodAncestor Robin DiAngelo on White Fragility
Other Ways to Support If You Can't Donate
Thanks to social media I've come across some new brands...
For body: GILDED
For fashion: Fe Noel
For art/prints: DANIELLE COKE
For skincare: KAIKE
For jewellery: SOKO
For home decor: CLAUDE HOME
For shoes: AMINAH ABDUL JILLIL
For makeup: JD Glow Cosmetics
I will continue to seek out resources to grow my understanding on racism and actively work on being a better ally. Let's continue these conversations and continue listening and learning.
BLACK LIVES MATTER.