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

 

Nikki
Well I tortured Jennie back in June with some old pictures to celebrate turning 30 & its only fair I do the same to Nikki. 

Nikki
Shots shots shots!
Now, lucky for everyone getting to enjoy these photos (or unlucky for you Nik & those in them!) I don’t have any up to date photos of Nikki as she has been living in Australia for several years now! 

Nikki's 21st
Nikki & I have known each other over 20 years. We first met when she joined my primary school in second class (I hope that’s correct, you’ll tell me if not) We had plenty of great times and got up to plenty of mischievous over the years. Some of these pictures show that.  


We may only get to see each other every couple of years now but when we do, it’s like nothing has changed & no time has passed. That makes us still in our mid-20s right?

Nikki & I
I hope you have a wonderful 30th birthday Nik. Welcome to the club. X

P.s. I’m getting away with that first picture because you’re too far away to kill me! I was originally looking for a nice school pic but I couldn’t pass this up!!


I know I have an about page and you can find out a little bit of information about me there and if you follow me on Instagram, you’ll find out plenty but I just wanted to share some things that people probably (or possibly) don’t know about me here….

1. I only learned how to swim in 2011. 

I went to plenty of swimming lessons as a kid and was just so terrified of the water that I never seemed to get the hang of it. I went on a holiday to Cuba in 2011 and I learned the breast stroke. It’s still the only style of swimming I can do and I try to go swimming 3 mornings a week. (Operative word being ‘try’).

2. I’m left handed.

Yep! Part of the 10%. We even get our own day for goodness sake.  Funny story, when I started school, I had such a problem with writing properly. My teacher had to put a little star at the top left of my page because I was in a bad habit of writing right to left instead of left to right.

3. My middle name is Ann.

After my mother and her mother before her. I took the name Margaret for my confirmation which was my Dad’s mother’s name. 

4. I’m obsessed with protecting my skin from the sun.

I rarely ever wear less than SPF 30. I almost always wear SPF 50 on my face when I go abroad and for the last year I’ve worn SPF 30 on my face pretty much every day. I also have a slight obsession with skincare products in general & own waaaay too many!

5. I can watch One Tree Hill over and over. 

It’s my go to TV show when I want to binge watch something familiar or if I’m unwell. I would probably pee my pants if it made a comeback. 

6. I’m messy, yet organised.

I am soooo messy! My bedroom is NEVER totally tidy and I almost always have a chair-drobe or a floor-drobe BUT I have black & white storage boxes lining all my shelves with everything organised in them. I need to know everything has a home. 

7. I am awful at maths.

I mean seriously, hideously awful. I failed it in my Leaving Cert and with absolutely no effort put into getting better at it in the last 10 years, I now can’t do anything but add without a calculator. 

8. I  also have a really bad sense of direction. 

It’s an on-going joke in my family that I have to reset and go home if I want to find my way somewhere. I have to plan routes out in my head before I leave home. Google Maps saves my life regularly. 

9. My dream job is to be a party planner/event organiser.

Even though I get extreme anxiety about actually attending parties. Then I tend to almost always enjoy myself thoroughly. I  love the idea of organising them and not having to worry about attending them. 

10. I have one tattoo on the top of my back.

I got it 5 years ago in Thailand and it says ‘Ancora Imparo’, which means ‘I Am Still Learning’ in Latin. Michelangelo said it just before he died when he was 88 years old. 


Today the first of our group of friends turns 30! So I thought the only fair thing to do is to share some really old (and some less than flattering) photos here. 



I thought I’d also share a little background of our friendship. We’ve been friends for half our lives now. I just realised that today. We first met through the boyfriends we had when we were 14 or 15. Back when we used to think that 25 was over the hill & our lives would be over. Those boyfriends didn’t last long & there’s been a few more since that didn’t last either (ha!) but our friendship has. Now that’s the nicest thing I’m going to say because if I say anything too nice, she’ll accuse me of going soft on her. 


Happy 30th birthday Jen! Thanks for getting old a little bit before me. I’ve learned 1 thing from reminiscing over the past 15 years….we might be old AF now but we definitely look better now than we do in some of these throwback pics…

P.s. Let’s not talk about my lack of eyebrows in that photo from Crete 2004. Or the fact that we clearly had a not at all cringe yellow theme going on.

This past weekend was a bank holiday weekend in Ireland so I thought I’d share my weekend in photos here. I shared a post like this a few years ago and I don’t know why I don’t do it more. There’s endless photos in my camera roll that never end up anywhere so I’m going to take the opportunity to share them here. (not pictured: drinks with friends on Friday, nachos for the Champion’s League Final on Saturday and drinks and dinner with Dave’s family on Sunday!)

Lady & Chief

Going Shopping in New Sandals Rasmopoliton

Dublin CityLadyCooling Down on a Warm Day

Chief

Picnics in the rainCar Picnic
A belly rub for Chief

1) Lady & Chief enjoying a lazy Friday afternoon (not sure there’s any other kind for them!),  2) Going shopping in my new sandals,  3) A razmo before dinner,  4) Dublin – Henry Street with a view of the Spire, 5) Lady looking a little fed up of having her picture taken, 6) nothing cures a hangover like an ice-pop, 7) Chief wishing he could have my ice-pop, 8) I was using my new picnic basket this weekend rain, hail or shine!, 9) picnic in the car, it is!, 10) If Chief rolls over and presents himself for a belly rub, you don’t say no!!

Lipstick off with Kiara

Being silly & having a lipstick off with Kiara in Dubai last year.

 

Layla makes me laugh ALL the time. Shes so witty and smart.

A family reunited!

A family reunited after 4 months apart!

Last week one of my best and oldest friends in the world packed up her things, took her little girl Layla and went to Perth in Australia to be with her boyfriend. I know it wasn’t easy for her to leave her family, friends and everything she knows behind and take that big leap but she was so brave. I wish them all the luck in the world and I hope they enjoy every moment of this adventure. Don’t forget to come home sometime Kiara. xo 

Nana in the 1940'sNana in 1995 Nana and Grandad during WW2

1) My Nana in the 1940’s. She was in her 20’s when the photo was taken,  2) In 1995, she was in her 70’s. It’s not the best photograph ever but I love the mischievous look in her eye and the start of a smile appearing,  3)  Nana with Grandad during World War 2. I’ve never met two people more in love.

Today is my Nana’s 16th anniversary. I was only 10 years old when she died. Although she was sick for a couple of years before she died, it was a major loss for all of us when she passed. She was absolutely the matriarch of our family. She organised everyone and everything. She was tough and she had strong opinions and morals. She was a strict parent and you couldn’t help but respect her but anyone could see that my Dad and his siblings adored her. My Mam always says she was so respectful and that even when she moved next door to us, she wouldn’t call in without an invitation.  She was a strong woman but she also had a wonderfully soft side. She was the most loving grandmother and she had the softest hands. She was a stereotypical Irish grandmother who was constantly wearing an apron, always had biscuits and plenty of cuddles. I’m glad she passed when she did because she was very unwell in the end but I still miss her dearly and wish she was here to see me as a grown woman. I hope she would be proud. One think I’m absolutely sure of…if she was still around, I would definitely curse less.

Lorenzo in his chair  Lorenzo & ILorenzo and his mamLorenzoLorenzo & his dadSteph, Shane and Lorenzo

1) Lorenzo in chair, he’s such a good baby,  2) Lorenzo and I,  3) Steph with Lorenzo, there was some lovely natural light so we took advantage and snapped a few pics,  4) Beautiful boy on his changing mat,  5) Shane and Lorenzo,  6) First family picture

I’m way behind on blog posts and I have every intention of catching up over the next few weeks. What better way to start than to share pictures of this amazingly cute little boy.  Last month I had the pleasure of meeting Lorenzo. His mammy and I have been friends since we were 6 years old and she and her boyfriend Shane have asked me to be Lorenzo’s godmother.  I had to wait two months to finally meet him(yes he’s only two months in these pics) as I was in Dubai for the summer when he was born and they live in England. He is absolutely perfect and I can’t wait to visit again. In the meantime I’ll have to settle for looking at these photographs.

With Robbie and JasonSigned copy of Robbie's book With Robbie & Jason in the bar

1) Meeting Robbie Fowler and Jason McAteer at a ‘Legend’s Night’, 2) My signed copy of Robbie Fowler’s autobiography,  3) Meeting them again in the bar of the hotel after the show.

Challenge Post 2: Dinner with my hero – the food, topic of conversation and reason you picked this person

Nothing had changed in my routine, except that when I went down the chippy and got me special friend rice, it would be wrapped in a newspaper that had my picture all over it. – Robbie Fowler

You know that moment when you meet your hero and you’re massively disappointed?  Well that didn’t happen to me. It was the exact opposite actually. People always say you should never meet your hero because when you do, you might be left wishing you hadn’t. When I got the chance to meet my hero last March, I completely ignored that advice and jumped at the chance.

I have many different heroes but I have two football heroes. Jamie Carragher and Robbie Fowler. I’ve been very lucky in that I got the chance to see both of them play their final games in a Liverpool shirt. Now that Robbie has retired from playing football, he’s working as a T.V. pundit and he’s also travelling around taking part in Liverpool Legend shows. As if by complete fate, Robbie was booked, along with a former Liverpool and Ireland player Jason McAteer, to take part in a Legend’s night in a hotel a stone’s throw from where I live. As in a 10 minute walk away. This might seem like it’s not such a big deal but I live on the outskirts of Dublin, not exactly the perfect location for such an event. I jumped at the chance of getting a ticket and when Stephen (my brother and fellow avid Fowler fan) went up to buy them, they only had regular Q&A show tickets. They were completely sold out of meet and greet tickets. Luckily for me, he was smart enough to put his name down for any cancellations and by the time the show came around, Stephen, my mam & I had been bumped up. Success. We arrived early and excited and managed to get seats in the very front row.

And so the story goes, I met my hero and he was exactly what I expected him to be. He signed my jersey and my copy of his autobiography. He was friendly and extremely funny. The show lasted a couple of hours and both Robbie and Jason McAteer answered questions about their careers and shared some great stories. There was a Q& A section at the end and Robbie even made a joke about Stephen, saying he looked like a roll-on deodorant. Hey, if Robbie Fowler makes a joke about you, you go with it. The show was brilliant and the interaction with the crowd throughout the night was great. They even came into the bar afterwards.

For me, the reason I picked this particular person is glaringly obvious. When I met him he lived up to my expectations, He scored 183 goals in 369 games for Liverpool, he’s had major ups, he’s had downs, he has been plagued by controversy, he was probably the only player to ever ask a referee not to award a penalty in his favour, he’s the fifth highest goalscorer in premier league history, he has left Liverpool as a hero TWICE, he scored the fastest  hat-trick in the premier league in just over 4 and a half minutes, he has won various awards both as an individual and as part of a team including the cup treble in 2000-2001. He was a world-class footballer and seems like a genuine down-to-earth fella. Is there any wonder his nick-name is ‘God’? I think this makes it pretty obvious why I chose him and what we would talk about. And as for what we would eat? A pie or fish and chips should do it, with some mushy peas of course.

 

It’s something I have wanted for a long time and I am as happy as anyone to be here. It is great to be back at my first love – Robbie Fowler (on his return to Liverpool)

 

My grandparents on their wedding day

Still in love many years later

1) My Paternal Grandparents on their wedding day in the early 1940’s,  2) Years later, they share a kiss, still madly in love.

Loving someone and having them love you back is the most precious thing in the world

– Nicholas Sparks

My grandparents were an inspiration when it comes to true love. I’ve never met any two people more in love than them. I passed by the place my Nana grew up today and it got me thinking about them as a couple. In this day and age, it’s very easy to dismiss the idea of true love and happily ever after, especially with roughly 50% of marriages in the U.S. ending in divorce and the rest of the world quickly catching up. I, however, believe in true love and I have my grandparents to thank for that. Their story is kind of like a fairy tale.  They knew each other way back in the early 1920’s when they were babies. The story goes that they used to hold hands from their prams when they were just toddlers. How could a story like that not end in love? I’m not 100% sure of all of the details but to my knowledge my Granddad went to England to work in his late teens or early twenties. When he returned, they fell in love. They were married in the early 1940’s and lived happily until she passed away over 50 years later in 1997. I was only 8 years old when she died but I still remember the way they looked at each other. Like a lot of women, she often rolled her eyes and dismissed the things he said but while he grumbled at the television she would stand against the door frame with a dish towel over her shoulder and her hand on her hip and smile at him. You could see it in her eyes that she loved him dearly. My Granddad, however, wasn’t so shy about his love for her. It’s important to remember that this was a man who was born in the 1920’s. Men weren’t exactly known for showing their emotions then but when it came to my Nana, he didn’t care. He gushed about her all the time and, for him, there was no-one quite like her in the world. She was a wonderfully strong woman and demanded respect that a lot of women in 1950’s Ireland didn’t receive. She was tough and independent but the most important thing to her was her family and I suppose while he worked and provided for his family, he was happy for her to take control. I’m sure it wasn’t always simple but it appeared that she made the rules but if he wanted to have his say, he did, and she respected it. No marriage or relationship is perfect but it worked perfectly well for them for over 50 years. My Granddad lived for 14 years after my Nana passed away. He kept photographs of her everywhere and although he didn’t talk about her every day, he mentioned her regularly. When he spoke about her, his eyes lit up with the same love and it never changed. He still loved her just as much and he spent his remaining years waiting for the day they would meet again. I really believe they were destined to be together.  How could a story so perfect not make you believe in true love?