Whenever I catch myself complaining at how draining and overwhelming the past week has been, I take a moment to remind myself that the fatigue I’m feeling is nothing compared to the hundreds of thousands of Black people who are tired, grieving, and traumatised after seeing another of their people mercilessly killed by a white man. The despicable murder of George Floyd at the hands of the police was the last straw for so many of us, regardless of race. White people: we have serious work to do. The slaughter of Black people needs to stop; whether by violent, overtly racist attacks or by insidious systemic and institutional discrimination which limits access to healthcare and funding. Now is the time for us to make a real, tangible commitment to making room for, and raising the voices of, marginalised Black people in our communities wherever and whenever we can.
When, and not restricted to, talking about racism and white supremacy, as white people we occupy a totally different space. We are unbelievably privileged: we have centric influence that we have got to utilise to fight racial inequality with an urgency like never before. We must have difficult and uncomfortable conversations if we are to nourish real change. We must acknowledge history: the cruelty and genocide committed by our ancestors, and we must acknowledge the pain and suffering of all those oppressed by a system that has only existed to serve us. It is up to us to bring up the topics of racism, white privilege, and white supremacy amongst each other: at dinner tables & work meetings; to challenge implicit racial bias – and explicit racial discrimination – when we see it. We must continually and exhaustively check our own prejudices and knee-jerk reactions without being defensive or self-pitying. We must ask ourselves when, why, and where we formed our own judgements and biases, and continue, relentlessly, to do so. We must sit with the guilt. We must unlearn and relearn.
Though the fight and goal to end racism and white supremacy is a humanitarian collective, we must remember to check our privilege and avoid being a louder voice in a space which is not ours. We are here in support and solidarity; this is a movement which does not centre around ourselves (for once). We must not centre this narrative around our own egos. We have to start educating ourselves and not relying on our Black friends to teach us. They are tired; they are mourning; they do not exist to fulfil some white saviour complex. We do not need a pat on the back for doing something that should be a basic requirement.
Here is a great list of resources, from books to documentaries to links to fundraisers and petitions. Read, watch, share, and discuss. Let’s all do better.