Black Lives Matter

Wednesday, 3 June 2020

I write this with the very clear understanding that I will never comprehend the black struggle and experience. I'm also very aware that I'm no expert and there are still so many things I don't know, but I want to learn and use my privilege for good. This isn't something I'm new to talking about on my social media but I haven't touched upon it on here. There has to be serious change. Black people live in fear everyday, and that's the harsh reality of it. Something I'll never have to go through because I'm white. Many deny the idea of white privilege and argue "but I've had a hard life". What people fail to grasp is that yes, you might have had a difficult upbringing and hard life, but it hasn't been made more difficult because of your race. And that's privilege. As a white person you have access to things more easily than a black person does. You don't have to fear being stopped by police or experience someone crossing the road to avoid you. You don't hear racial slurs about your skin colour. Which are only a few things every black person will experience in their life, and from a young age.

Black Lives Matter.

It's that simple. I have no idea why people have decided to start opposing it by saying "all lives matter". It's such a harmful argument. Even people with the best intentions have to understand that by using that you're opposing and silencing black voices. Of course all lives matter, but this isn't about everyone right now this is about a black man who was murdered for being black and all of the other people who have been killed for their skin colour. The deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery were the tip of the iceberg. We've all seen the horrific video of George on the floor with that police man's knee pressing against his neck. 8 whole minutes. He was murdered in cold blood in the street. If that hasn't weighed on your mind and heart and made you angry for the past week then you need to look at yourself. As many have pointed out, if that had been someone with their knee on a dog's neck people would've been outraged more so than in this instance. Which makes no sense. He was a father and an activist and a well loved man who was murdered over a dispute over $20 purely because he was black. I saw a tweet from a white man who had the exact same story to tell about being suspected of using a fake note. He lives to tell the story, because he is white. Breonna was only 26 and an EMT who was shot at least 8 times in her own home. Why? Because the police had the wrong address. They entered her property illegally to conduct a drug raid, even though the man they were actually looking for had already been arrested. Ahmaud Arbery was shot like an animal and killed while jogging. The 2 men who shot him claimed they thought he was a suspect in recent burglaries. The fact that some people will associate black skin with being guilty even NOW in 2020, disgusts me. These are just 3 names on a long long list of people who were unarmed and innocent but racism cost them their lives. And it's not right that they won't be the last.

Obviously the recent events in America have triggered a huge conversation around the subjects of racism, police brutality, oppression and white privilege, but the UK is far from innocent. These topics can often make people uncomfortable. Personally, i think if you're uncomfortable, good. You should be. Because you know it's not right and there needs to be bigger change. A hashtag of  Black Lives Matter is great for awareness and it's an incredible movement. However it's not enough to inspire real change. Racism is deep rooted and systemic and in some forms has even become socially acceptable and normal. I saw a post showing both covert and overt racism and I've been sending it to family members and friends on social media to help them understand because it's such a good post for helping to understand the difference between the 2. I'll put it below as well as other posts I found helpful. 

Silence is violence.

I can't tell you the amount of people I saw say absolutely nothing about this on social media. Not one thing. No sharing posts for awareness and education. No petition signing. No donating. No speaking up. And it really opened my eyes. Especially these people who stan black artists and rappers and rip off black culture for an aesthetic who are now suddenly very quiet. Personally, this isn't new to me. As someone with a large amount of black and asian friends I've always found it necessary to educate myself and become more understanding. It is not the obligation of black people to teach others about acceptance and understanding. But the amount of people I've seen who thing a shitty black square on their Instagram profile that will be deleted in a week for not "fitting the aesthetic" is downright disrespectful. You are white. You have privilege. You have to amplify black voices. How can you not be drowning in guilt right now that you're sharing selfies and pictures of your walk at the beach or new asos purchases. Wake the fuck up. On the other side of it I'm glad to see more people sharing information. My own family members who didn't understand certain terms are now educating other family member that aren't on social media and trying to spread awareness to their friends who have stayed silent. Silence in these times proves that you've taken the side of the oppressor.

Now is the time to help.

Many have argued that it has nothing to do with us in the UK. That kind of ignorance is part of the problem. There is so much we can do as individuals. Firstly SIGN THE PETITIONS. It's free and takes 2 minutes. There are so many of them. Just take the time to look through and sign them. Secondly, DONATE if you can. If you're able to then PROTEST, regardless of people's negative opinions on it. No justice, no peace. I personally will be going to my local protest. It's sad to me that many people are more critical of protesting and fighting against this injustice than the actual racism itself. As an individual you have to EDUCATE yourself and others. The resources are so so easily attainable. The amount of books, films, TV shows, articles, websites, Instagram accounts, and charities give no excuse for you not to learn and help inform others around you. Going forward you have to make commitments outside of social media. It's only a small part of making a change. Buy from black businesses, listen to the black community, ask your black friends questions, write to your local governments demanding solidarity. There is so much you can do to help so please just take the time to find out how.




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