The current news has effected so many people in more ways than I think we can imagine.
The murder of George Floyd is just one of the many examples we have seen over the past few years of police brutality and open racism. It is disgusting that this is not a one-off event and without modern technology and social media keeping us connected, there is no way that the majority of the world would even know what is going on.
As a white woman, I feel uncomfortable with this topic for more ways than one.
Not only do I feel like adding my voice to the pile will take the attention away from those who need to be heard right now; the black community, the family of George Floyd, peaceful protesters spreading the word of Black Lives Matter – basically anyone who does not have the same privileges that my light skin affords me.
With my white skin, there is a lot of things that I do not understand and cannot understand, but I also have to admit that I have been wilfully ignorant my entire life.
Like many others, whenever a case of brutality and racism appears in the media I feel anger, shame, and upset. I will offer my condolences, argue with my openly racist relatives and feel sick every time I watch the news.
But then I go back into my everyday white, privileged life not giving a second thought to these issues until something else comes up. Which it evidently will do until we all make a change.
I feel embarrassed to admit my ignorance and privilege, but I feel like it is such an important thing for white people to do right now.
I believe that accepting and understanding the privilege that our light skin, our location, our nationality gives us is the first step in making real change. And this change will come from education, listening, and speaking out.
WHY AREN’T YOU SPEAKING OUT?
Social media is a scary place to be right now for many reasons.
It’s upsetting and draining to see all of these heartbreaking posts about what is going on in the world, and it brings me a lot of shame because it highlights my ignorance.
There is also a lot of shame being put out into the world against people who aren’t speaking up right now.
Now, I believe that if you have a platform and an audience then you should be speaking up now and whenever there is a wide issue like this. Sitting silent and waiting certainly is a privilege and it is one that a lot of us are using right now.
However, I think a bit of judgement needs to be removed from the table.
For a lot of us, situations like this terrible murder bring up a lot of things for us. Of course, it’s triggering and terrifying for the black community – which is something I can never understand as a white girl, but I sympathise with my entire being and want to stand with you.
What is triggering to a white girl regarding the murder of George Floyd, Michael Brown, Eric Garner and the countless other black lives that have been taken, is the fact that it brings up issues that I thought I was aware of. I thought I was ‘woke’, basically, and in times like these I realise how wrong I am.
These murders and protests, the thousands of people spreading information and offering us an education, shows me that I have no idea what is going on and I have never actively done anything to stop it.
Sure, I’m not a racist person. I will never call someone out for the colour of their skin, no will I use derogatory language against them. I have, however, been the person to say ‘I just don’t see race’ which makes me want to vomit.
I don’t have to see race as an issue because I’m white. That is the privilege that I need to understand and be aware of every single day.
Despite the fact that I don’t consider myself a racist, there are so many things that I have been conditioned to think and feel, as well as those that have just happened through my privileged ignorance, that simply cannot remain.
It shouldn’t have taken the death of yet another black man for me to realise that, and to the rest of the world and especially to the black brothers and sisters that I have ignored over the years I’m sorry.
I’m taking time at the moment to learn and listen.
LISTEN AND LEARN, WITH RESOURCES
You know that I love to learn things about myself and become better, but this is one field that I never even considered to be an issue.
I’m working with and against my privilege to learn about the issues that will never effect me but that are impacting the entire world and we cannot stand for it any longer.
I understand that this is my responsibility, not that of our black brothers and sisters, to educe myself on these issues. However, I would like to have as much information as I can so please share all and any resources with me that you think will help.
If you can, please donate to Floyd’s family using the GoFundMe link here.
I’m going to link an article here that has specific organisations you can donate to based on your state.
This is an excellent source, especially for us in the UK, about how to help Black Lives Matter if you cannot donate.
Search on social media – Instagram in particular has a lot of great information – regarding the educational tools you can use, as well as a way to listen to the voices that really matter right now.
Keep listening and keep learning. Together, we can make a change.