As I stand in solidarity with all black people, I say George Floyd’s words, “I can’t breathe.” The truth is black people have struggled to breathe for far too long.
If you’re a non-black person, thanks for reading this post because it means you care and want to do something about the injustice that is happening towards black people all over the world. Keep fighting the good fight.
Here’s what you can do to make a difference.
1. Acknowledge –
Acknowledge your privilege. Particularly if you’re a white person, ‘white privilege’ is a very real thing. To put it simply, it doesn’t mean that as a white person you haven’t struggled, it just means that the colour of your skin doesn’t make life harder for you. You actually benefit from the oppression black people face. An example being that as a white person you see yourself represented everywhere first (magazines, movies, games, toys beauty products etc.) The truth is if you still can’t see it, it’s because your privilege is blinding you. It’s up to you to open your eyes to what’s going on around you. Ignorance simply can’t be an excuse at this point. Acknowledge that racism still exists, because to deny it exists is also a big part of the problem. You need to change your heart because it starts from the inside.
2. Listen –
Listen to your black friends and listen to black people in general. Ask questions and sit back and listen. Hear things from their perspective. But also understand that black people are not entitled to educate you so don’t be expectant of this from all black people. A lot of us are tired of having to constantly explain it all – please respect that.
3. Talk about racism in your homes –
Make it a topic of conversation and speak up when family members are being racist. A simple ‘don’t be racist’ isn’t enough. I challenge you to keep talking about it until you’ve convinced your family. There’s a right and wrong, help them to see this. If you have a younger brother or sister, or you’re a parent with a kid(s), it’s never too early to talk about race. When you ignore it, they go out into the world and a lot of the time learn it the wrong way, from people who also haven’t been educated. Majority of the time we tend to listen more to people who look like us so it’s probably more effective if a white person who is actively anti-racist were to educate other white people. Show your family the difference between not being racist and actively being anti-racist, one conversation at a time.
4. Educate yourself –
There are so many resources out there to do this and below is a condensed list to help.
- Why I’m No Longer Talking To White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge
An exploration of race through Afua’s eyes where she speaks of her personal experience of being Black and British but also mixed-race. She allows the reader to see her experiences both in Britain and Africa.
- Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Films, Documentaries & TV Shows:
- Hidden Figures
5. Sign petitions, write to your MPs/Mayors & donate if you can –
Doing these things makes a big difference even though it may seem small. Signing your name on a petition brings the petition one step closer to being fulfilled and for there to be justice.
7. Be actively anti-racist –
Use your voice even if it makes you uncomfortable. It can be intimidating but it matters. You temporarily feeling uncomfortable helps to dismantle the systems that have been put into place for years. It’s worth it. Being anti-racist is the commitment to not stand by and stay silent when you see racism. Challenge it when you see it. Speak up and amplify the black voices around you.
Don’t allow Black Lives Matter to merely be a trend, because trends die out. Let this be the beginning of changing the way you think, behave and inspire others to actively be anti-racist.
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