Racism And Us – Black Lives Matter
I’ve wanted to write about Black Lives Matter and haven’t known where to start. I’ve been pretty preoccupied with it. I’ve posted on social, recorded two podcasts that talk about what’s going on and I’ve started reading an excellent book so I can get better informed.
But I realize this is just a tiny drop in an ocean of what I, as a white woman of immense privilege, can be doing to stop the endemic racism that blights so many lives. And I know I am likely to say the wrong thing but I hope to learn as I do that.
I’ve always thought myself racially aware. I have a mixed race son (half Chinese), I live in Hackney, the most diverse borough in the UK and I’ve lived in the US and China too. But I realize I have so much to learn and I’m trying to listen and do just that.
I sense this is a pivotal moment and I sincerely hope life will be different after this for Black people and all those who suffer prejudice as a result of the white privilege I enjoy. It’s about bloody time.
Racism is bad enough in the UK, but it seems a bit less in your face than in the US where the system was truly set up to keep Black people suppressed. I learnt a lot about this when I lived in New York. One startling realization for me was when I realized that my dear Black friends’ surname was not their own. It was the name of whoever had owned their ancestors.
I wanted to share a few resources I’ve found this week that are helping me understand the scale of the pain and suffering of Black people in non-Black dominant societies. I’m not excluding other people of color here but Black people do seem to consistently sit at the bottom of the pile.
I always say that us midlife women have a great deal of power when we come together and step forward rather than stepping back. If there is ever a time to step forward and find your voice, this is it, whatever the color of your skin.
Here are some things I’ve been reading and learning from so far:
Me And White Supremacy by Layla F Saad This book challenges white people in particular to recognize their privilege and all the varied aspects of that. I’m learning loads from this already, such as about white fragility when white people get defensive talking about racism. “It is white people’s responsibility to be less fragile; People of Color don’t need to twist themselves in knots trying to navigate us as painlessly as possible.” Robin Diangelo. The book is a tool set teaching white people how to combat racism and change the world.
A quick little video from my friend Kwavi Agbeyegbe who I interviewed for the podcast on a repeat visit this week, on why being color-blind is part of the problem.
A quite brilliant analysis of the domino effect of recent events from Trevor Noah. As he points out, the catalyst for what has transpired most recently was the dreadful white woman dogwalker in Central Park.
We talked about racism and Black Lives Matter in our private group on Facebook, The Flock and I decided to set up a new Discussion Club on Thursday evenings. This will be where we can discuss all sorts of things but we’re starting with a toughie, the Layla F Saad book. If you’d like to get involved in this please join The Flock.
Finally I’m going to leave you with this poem that has been shared a lot on social:
What if 2020 isn’t cancelled?
What if 2020 is the year we’ve been waiting for?
A year so uncomfortable, so painful, so scary, so raw —
that it finally forces us to grow.
A year that screams so loud, finally awakening us
from our ignorant slumber.
A year we finally accept the need for change.
Declare change. Work for change. Become the change.
A year we finally band together, instead of
pushing each other further apart.
2020 isn’t canceled, but rather
the most important year of them all.
– Leslie Dwight
Stay safe. Be comforted. Speak out.
Black lives matter. This matters.
Now is the time.
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