I don’t often post about current events, because I’m not a news journalist, but the protests surrounding George Floyd’s death is a people issue, and an issue of cutting out the bullshit, learning to navigate hard times, and believe in and create a better future, which is what this blog is all about.
When people say Black Lives Matter, they’re not saying they matter more than other lives, or that all lives don’t matter. If All Lives Matter, why are black and brown people being unjustly killed by police at a disproportionate rate?
Dismantling systematic racism and oppression cannot rest solely on the shoulders of the oppressed. It is, without a doubt, the duty of the privileged to put their money where their mouth is, vote, get educated, educate, diversify the businesses they support and people they hire, and stand up for what is right.
You not being a racist doesn’t solve racism. It is not enough. You must be willing to get uncomfortable, challenge yourself to learn something new, and actively work towards building a better, anti-racist world.
Just like with anything else in life, we have to endure discomfort to get stronger.
A Note on White Privilege
White privilege doesn’t mean you haven’t faced hardships. It doesn’t mean you’ve had everything handed to you. It means the system was made for you. It means your odds of being unjustly killed by a police officer are negligible. It means if you want to get ahead, you will encounter far fewer obstacles and setbacks related to your race than a black or brown person would trying to get to the same place.
Here are some more examples:
These videos may be uncomfortable to watch, but guess what? Black lives matter more than your comfort. Growth is uncomfortable. We get stronger and wiser from discomfort.
When we say Black Lives Matter we are saying All Lives Matter, that’s why we have to stop killing black ones unnecessarily.
There’s Never Been a Better Time
Don’t just change the channel and pretend racial injustice doesn’t exist because you don’t experience it, or you don’t want to think about it. Speak up, speak out, and help make it NOT OK to be a racist.
Protests surrounding George Floyd’s death reached all fifty states, and expanded globally. Quarantine allowed us all enough time to actually stop, reflect, and focus on what’s important. We are no longer too busy to notice injustice. We are listening, learning, and we are ready to re-write our world.
The time for sitting back and waiting for somebody else to figure it out is over. The time for sweeping police brutality and the unjust murders of black and brown lives is over. It’s over because there’s something we can all do to help this movement gain momentum, demand change, and stay aware. There’s literally something we can all do (scroll down for resources and calls to action) and to not do anything at this point is to support racism.
Yes, that’s right. To stay silent and focus solely on your selfies, your life, your problems is to default to the current system, and that system is racist AF. To leave it up to everyone else supports racism because the system is racist. To do nothing sends a very clear message that you’re ok with a racist system.
When your kids learn about this moment in history, do you want to tell them you did nothing?
Ok, Now What?
There’s easy things you can do. There’s hard things you can do. Every day might be different in terms of what you have in you. Be gentle with yourself. This is a lot to process, but we need momentum, and every small action towards fighting racism and creating radical change counts. We need your momentum.
We create radical change when we band together, help each other, and keep moving in the same direction.
White people need to get educated on the history of slavery and racism in our country, and how it plays out in our present day. We need to listen to the stories and experience of BIPOC. We need to diversify our staff, support black-owned businesses, black artists, black writers. We need to show up and vote. We need to be willing to get uncomfortable, make mistakes, and correct ourselves. We need to call out our racist family members and coworkers. We need to talk to our kids about racism. We need to donate money. We need to do fucking something.
If you feel lost, that’s ok. Do what you can. Commit to educating yourself, or using your platform to create radical change and educate others. This post is by no means exhaustive for how you can help, but it’s a start.
Here Are A Few Ways You Can Learn:
What Else Can I Do? How Can I Help?
Donate! Donate! Donate!
If you’re able, here are a few organizations that would benefit from your generosity:
Other ways you can help:
Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is
Support black owned businesses, entrepreneurs. Money is power, and it’s time that power gets more evenly distributed.
Be the Change.
Don’t stay silent when someone says some racist shit. Notice your own prejudices, figure out where they came from and how you can untangle them. Commit to educating yourself, listening, and checking your privilege. Be willing to get it wrong, and do it over. It’s ok if you get it wrong, that’s how we learn. Done is always better than perfect. Silence only helps the oppressor.
Have the hard conversations. We have to make racism not ok in our closest circles, be they work, family, or community, because it spreads like a disease. Stop the Spread.
It Starts at Home
Talk to your kids about racism. This is a great link for children’s books that introduce the topic of race.
Call out family members when they say something problematic and racist. An awkward interaction means nothing when peoples lives are on the line. Get awkward.
Promote and Spread the Stories, Voices, and Experiences of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color
Use social media. Recommend and gift relevant TV shows and books. Listen. SHARE other’s stories. Half the battle is convincing neutral people that racism DOES exist in our world, and it is hurting and killing people.
Believe and Hope
We have to stay hopeful and believe in a better future, believe we can do better, create better. The current model is obviously not working, and it is our job as a collective to take action, stay educated, and manifest radical change.
As much as there is still hate and brutality in our world, there is also just as much love, compassion, and desire to heal and do better.
Stay safe, stay empowered, stay educated, and be willing to be uncomfortable and flail around a little. Some of the best things in life cause some discomfort, but they’re worth it. Life is worth fighting for. Human rights are worth fighting for. Love is worth fighting for.