Whenever there is a devastating event that comes to light in the media, a lot of people jump on the bandwagon. I’m honestly worried that once the outrage over George Floyd’s murder is over and #BlackLivesMatter stops trending, everyone who isn’t directly affected will forget about this and move onto the next thing.
When Caroline Flack died, so many people kept talking about being kind. Petitions were made and hashtags were trending, but a few weeks later, everyone forgot and went back to their usual selves.
I didn’t learn about black history in school. I vaguely remember there being a poster outside the main hall stating it was black history month, but that was it. I have learnt more in the last few days on social media than I did in school.
I am ashamed that I hadn’t educated myself sooner. I never really considered myself as a racist person, but without realising, I have been. I have flippantly called my white friends the ‘n word,’ with little understanding of its history and meaning. I have walked past a group of white teenagers and been intimidated, but walked past a group of black teenagers and felt scared. My parents didn’t bring me up like that. It’s something I learnt from the media and living in a predominantly white area. I’m not proud of it and I need to change.
I am trying to educate myself. I’ve been reading, watching and sharing videos created by black people, trying to help spread their voice. I’ve been signing petitions and making donations. I don’t deserve any sort of praise for doing those things because it’s something we should’ve been doing all along. This isn’t a new issue. This has been going on for centuries and it makes me angry.
To anyone who is arguing, saying ‘all lives matter,’ you’re coming across as dismissive, ignorant and you’re completely missing the point. Of course, all lives matter, but black people are being murdered by the people who should be protecting us, purely because of the colour of their skin. You’re not. As a gay woman, I have the choice who to share my sexuality with, so I can prevent any abuse I might get for it. Black people don’t have that luxury. It’s the first thing people notice about them and, from that, a judgement it formed. I have been guilty of this, which is wrong.
As a white, cis woman, I MUST use my privilege to speak up about the inequality in our society and fight for justice. The fact that I can wake up in the morning and not have to worry about whether or not I’m going to be murdered today, IS my privilege. This is not just something that happens in America. This goes on in the UK as well.
This is currently a ‘viral story,’ but it is everyday reality for black people. I don’t claim to know everything. I’m just trying to learn along the way and if this post has come across as ignorant or offensive in any way, I wholeheartedly apologise. It’s not my place to educate, but it is my place to fight and be an ally, just as I would want people to be an LGBTQ+ ally for me and my community.
Please, please educate yourself. Donate if you can. But most importantly, be there and fight for your black family, friends, teachers, colleagues. They are hurting and they need you.
Black Lives Matter