Unless you’ve been living under a rock over the past 2 weeks or so, you’ll be aware of the recent widespread support of & interest in the BLM (Black Lives Matter) movement from white people. Something that, quite frankly, should have happened a long time ago. And I’m not going to pretend that I’ve been active in this area either. But the barbaric nature of George Floyd’s death has sparked public outrage and white people are *finally* starting to take notice and take action. This post will outline various ways you can keep the momentum going, pointing you to other resources as well as the voices of BIPOC.
A few questions I’ve been asking myself recently:
- Why was I ready to strike for the planet & for feminism, but not for BLM?
- Why did I never question the labelling of peach-coloured pencils as “skin-coloured”?
- Why do I always assume protagonists in books are white?
- Why is the majority of my Instagram feed white?
- Why do we, as white people, make racism about us? (expressing our guilt, crying, feeling attacked, taking the conversation away from black people and onto us/ our egos)
- Why did I ever think it was ok to ask to “touch” a BIPOC’s hair? As if they were an animal to be stroked?
- How can I call myself a feminist if I only fight for white feminism?
- How can I call myself a climate activist if I only partake in white activism?
- Why have I never questioned the whiteness of my school, university, friendship groups etc?
- Why am I so scared of doing/ saying the “wrong” thing? (When what is really needed is action – and if I make mistakes, people can call me out and I can learn)
And many many more. Consider asking yourself the same, sitting with that discomfort and channelling that into action.
Next comes education. I’ve already shared several resources on Instagram, but I thought I’d share them again. First I’m going to include a few key terms to research. Then I’ve subdivided other resources into reading, listening and watching.
- The 4 layers of racism: Individual, Interpersonal, Institutional and Structural (see that it operates on all levels and they perpetuate each other to create the entrenched racism we have today)
- White Saviourism
- White Privilege
- White Fragility
- Cultural Appropriation
- Noughts and Crosses
- Black Girl Unlimited
- Children of Blood and Bone
- Girl, Woman, Other
- The Hate U Give
- On The Come Up
- Why I’m No Longer Talking To White People About Race
- White Fragility
- Black Feminist Thought
- How to be an Anti-Racist
- The New Jim Crow
- Just Mercy
- Mindful of Race
- The Diversity Gap
- Talking Tastebuds (certain episodes)
- About Race
- Momentum: A Race Forward Podcast
- American Son
- Dear White People
- The Racial Wealth Gap, Explained
At the end of the day, actions speak louder than words. Just posting a black square with the hashtag #blackouttuesday doesn’t really constitute making a change.
First of all, if, like me, your instagram feed is predominantly white, then change that. Diversify your feed, engage with these new BIPOC’s accounts, make their recipes, show your support. Don’t just follow these accounts as a token gesture to “prove” to yourself that you’re anti-racist. Follow them because they are genuinely amazing and because you want to follow them. A few of my favourites:
Sign petitions! Show your solidarity by supporting these petitions that demand education of black British history, justice for George Floyd, your university’s diversity & racial policies, the government’s ingrained racism that leads to overarching institutional racism. There are loads out there that have been shared via social media so you won’t have to look hard.
If you have a bit of cash to spare and can donate, then do. Click this link here for a variety of charities/ organisations, as well as petitions to sign.
You can also watch Zoe Amira’s Youtube Video which has lots of ads, the revenue of which goes to funds to support the BLM movement (protester bail funds, help pay for family funerals and advocacy). There are some amazing pieces of art by BIPOC featured too.
If you are well and able to, then attend a peaceful protest march in your local area. If you live in Brighton & Hove area, there is one on Madeira Drive at 1pm on the 13th June. See more info here. As white people we need to show up. It’d not enough to just say “I’m an anti-racist”. You need to prove it through your actions. If you can’t protest, don’t just do nothing. Create a BLM poster and stick it in your window. Call people out for racism – no matter how c/overt – and settle for nothing less than justice. Protest for what’s right in everything you do.
Another way you can support the BLM movement is by buying from black-owned brands. If you’re anything like me, you’ll probably shop from white mega-brands most of the time without even thinking about it. If we choose to spend our money elsewhere – namely, buying from brands owned by BIPOC – then we can encourage a more level playing field and start to counteract the predominantly white nature of the market. Having said that, this isn’t a “get out of jail free” card. You still need to check your privilege and educate yourself.
I’ve listed some of my favourite, recently discovered ones below:
- Boucleme (curly hair care – I can’t wait for mine to arrive!)
- Sunuker (hair & body)
- The Wild Peanut (flavoured peanut butters)
- Nia Ballerina (black ballerina jewellery boxes)
- Freed Of London (not black owned but they offer tan and black ballet shoes)
- Chika’s Foods (African-inspired snacks)
- Prick (cacti, succulents and plant-care)
- Bonita Ivie (gorgeous stationery inspired by black culture)
- Sincerely Nude (Nude clothing brand celebrating women of ALL colour)
& so many more. Do some research, invest and support. But dob’t forget the bigger picture of challenging racism (in yourself and others) and educating.
I hope this post has been helpful, even if only a bit. I know I’ll be coming back to this again and again to remind myself of the multiple ways I can keep the fight going. Any resources you’ve discovered that you think I should see then please please DM me them on Instagram.