BEING ANTI-RACIST

“The beauty of anti-racism is that you don’t have to pretend to be free of racism to be an anti-racist. Anti-racism is the commitment to fight racism wherever you find it, including in yourself. And it’s the only way forward” – Ijeoma Oluo

It has taken me far too long to write and share this post. I was holding off in doing so because I wanted to write it in a way that didn’t make it about me. I was also worried about saying the wrong things.There has been a lot going on in the world and on social media since the barbaric and untimely death of George Floyd on the 25th May 2020. I have posted to social media, I have shared stories and information to my Instagram stories but I have also listened, I’ve learned, I’ve signed petitions and I’ve donated. Now I want to use this (very modest) platform to share some of what I have learned and some of the resources I’ve found useful.

On Tuesday the second of June I posted a black square to my instagram grid with the hashtag #BlackoutTuesday. Thankfully I had already noticed posts saying not to use #BlackLivesMatter because it erased lots of very important information and so I didn’t have to delete it for that reason. I did, however, spend the day considering whether or not to delete my post. I was consuming so much content on the topic throughout the day. Some people said delete the square, it’s not helpful, others said keep the square once you have not used the Black Lives Matter hashtag. I didn’t know what the “right” thing to do was. I kept the post. I kept the post but I wasn’t silent. I used the day to share some resources I found and to try and amplify melanated voices and I’ve continued to try to use my platform to do that. It’s not helpful if you posted a black square and then moved on with your life because you could, because in reality it’s “not your problem”. 

I’ve learned it’s not enough to say “I don’t have a problem with black people” or “Well I’m not a racist”. It’s not enough to just be ‘not racist’. I need to be anti-racist. I need to use my white privilege to call out racism and to support black people. If you’re reading this and thinking “I want to be an ally but it’s hard or it’s uncomfortable to call people out on their racism”, I found the tweet below from @kthpupp and it really hit home:

“Whether you like it or not, this year will be written in history, your children will be educated of these events. They are going to ask you what you did, wouldn’t it be embarrassing to say to your own children that you did nothing because you were uncomfortable.”

 

SOME THINGS I’VE LEARNED

  • Sharing videos of black people being killed by police is not constructive. How many videos of white people being killed have you seen on social media? We have had camera phones for about 15 years. It hasn’t ended racism yet. It’s also not raising awareness that black people are disproportionately killed by police. Is there anyone who doesn’t already know that? Talking about it and raising awareness, however, is important. @akilahh said on Instagram:

“When I say ‘don’t look away’ I don’t mean consume black death like it’s a meme on TikTok. I mean look in the mirror. Look at your family. Look at the community you live in. Look at your friend group. Look at the wealthy white woman with the recuse dog in the goddamn park. And don’t look away.”

  • Stop asking black people what you can do. Please don’t assume that every black person is a spokesperson for their entire race. It’s also unfair to expect them to have all of the answers. Use your time to educate yourself. Google it. Follow anti-racist educators on social media, go through their back catalogues, read books on the topic. 
  • We need to stop telling oppressed people how to protest. I want to make it very clear that I do not agree with violence and I don’t think it solves anything. That being said, it’s very small minded to have the attitude of “why can’t you just protest peacefully” or ” why cant you protest the right way”. Black people have tried marching. It didn’t work. They tried taking a knee. That wasn’t right either. famous people have spoken out about racism. That hasn’t ended it. It’s also a huge distraction to let the actions of the few take away from the actions/intentions of the many. This post on Instagram from @ZerlinaMaxwell sums it up so well. 

SOME RESOURCES/WAYS TO HELP

If you have any information or resources to share with me, I’d love to hear them. My intention with this post was to be supportive and to share resources I’ve found useful. I’m learning everyday and don’t promise to always get it right. I’m open to correction if anything I’ve said was inaccurate, unhelpful or hurtful.  You can come & chat in the comments, DM me on Instagram or email me at ali@paparali.com

Anyway, that’s enough from me this week…catch ya next week…maybe!

Ali x