Where’s your knee?
8th June 2020
Well what a heavy past couple of weeks.
We’ve seen the world begin to crack open their eyes again at the reality that is racism. Hard for some to see, and so they deliberately turned away, citing busyness, a need to withdraw into family, work, themselves.. anything but look into the uncomfortable mirror.
I’ve been asked many times over this period, and in the months and years before “Give me examples of what has happened” and “Help me to understand”. To the first I reply, “The rapist doesn’t say to his victim, give me examples of how I have raped you – whilst raping”. To the second I say “I cannot make you understand why you don’t dismantle the systems and structures that are designed to benefit you and punish me”.
There is so much information out there. A good place to start to do some immediate deep work is novareid.com. Turns out Google is your friend at the moment. There are plenty of resources for you.
This is not the time to turn to Black people to ask them to educate you. We have been talking and sharing and trying to educate you for the longest time.
Do not go and find the one Black person you know and load your guilt and/or confusion on them.
Do not sit and cry saying that you ‘don’t understand why this is and what to do’.
It’s time to be proactive. Time to find out all the ways in which you can confront the ugly and uncomfortable truths that this past fortnight has shown you.
Think about why you respond the way you do to scenes of loud, sometimes violent, protest. Think about your inaction when the protest was a bended knee. A quiet march. Think about the way you decide that protesting should be done. Then think about how many times it has been done before.
“You don’t make progress by standing on the sidelines, whimpering and complaining. You make progress by implementing ideas.”
― Shirley Chisholm
Last week, social media attempted to open some eyes. The campaign for the week was #AmplifyMelanatedVoices created by @blackandembodied and @jessicawilson.msrd This was where white ,and white passing. accounts were asked to MUTE their voices and to share the work and content of Black and Brown people. Some took it to mean silencing themselves. On Tuesday, we had #BlackOutTuesday, again, this was jumped on by white accounts, particularly the influencer accounts, as a way to put salve the burning of their consciences, or more likely, to quickly and cheaply get their non racist credentials on show. Looking through their social media, casting a brief eye down their grids, it was clear to see that this wasn’t something that they’d ever been concerned about before. Some turned off commenting because they were being called out. One male influencer refused to tackle the public racism within his own family as he claimed to only just now recognise what white supremacy within him meant. Do I hope that he’s genuinely listening and learning? Yes. Do I think he is? I can only surmise that not losing the ad revenue and the gifting that takes place due to his role of influencer, plays a huge part of this sudden conscience.
So now that this week of amplification is over. What now? Are you going back to your normal? What small, or large, action are you going to take going forward. Will you be the change you say that you want to see? Or is your knee falling back down into place to ensure that the systems and the structures that were designed to benefit you, and punish me, remain?