#BlackLivesMatter - What Can We Do To Help In The UK?
We can all do our bit.
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The murder of George Floyd at the hands of a Minneapolis police offer has once again thrown the issue of systemic racism into the spotlight.
Many cities across the world have seen widespread protests - for the most part peaceful - following George’s death with people from a multitude of backgrounds asking themselves and others what they can do help eradicate the often daily racism people of colour experience.
And there are things we can all do to stand in solidarity with those who feel the bite of prejudice, positive actions that will ensure the future is better than the past and present, because let’s face it, an Instagram post will never be enough to undo centuries of oppression.
As Dr Ateh Jewel writes: “If you are one of the white people thinking that this time, it’s enough and want to invoke real change, sharing an Instagram post, and quoting Martin Luther King is NOT enough.”
There are so many resources to turn to educate about race and discrimination.
If you would like to learn more about why it’s important to be anti-racist rather than non-racist, here are a number of books you can read:
Why I’m No Longer Speaking to White People about Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge
How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X Kendi
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
The Fire This Time: A New Generation Speaks about Race by Jesmyn Ward
White Rage: The Unspoken Truth of Our Racial Divide by Carol Anderson.
There are obviously loads more too.
But it’s also important that we take the responsibility to educate ourselves. Speaking to Glamour, model Nyome Nicholas-Williams says: “The learning must come from white people who call themselves allies by doing the research, seeking the vast library of education created by black scholars and leaders and not asking black people to do the work and ‘teach’ them.”
There are also lots of people you can follow on Instagram, again here are just a few:
Challenge your peers
You can help the cause by trying to educate those around you who still don’t recognise their privilege.
Stephanie Yeboah writes: “Speak up on behalf of black people when injustices arise, without centring yourselves in the conversation and making it about your opinions and perspectives on the important issues. Instead, lift up and provide visibility to those without privilege who need to have their voices heard.”
This doesn’t have to mean confrontation - it can take the form of sending people resources that have helped you to understand better, or simply trying to have conversations around the issue of racism.
It’s understandable that people are often worried about speaking up to express your views, with many fearing that saying the wrong thing is worse than saying nothing at all.
But, it’s just so important to support something that you feel strongly about and if you do feel worried about saying the wrong thing, it really is better to have tried than to have done nothing at all.
And if you’re challenged by a person of colour, listen to what you’re being told, accept you made a mistake, learn from it and promise to do better in the future - that’s the only way!
Literally put your name to the cause. There are loads of petitions with different aims but these are some of the ones really gaining momentum at the moment.
Lastly, it’s important that we all work as much as we can, in whatever form it takes to help address the inequalities that are faced by black and minority ethnic people every single day here in the UK.
This may mean offending people who aren’t comfortable with change, and it will certainly cause friction at times.
As Dr Jewel writes: “To be part of the cure of the sickness of racism you have to put your money, voice and body on the line.
This means peacefully protesting, emailing your MP and putting pressure on them to make real changes in the law. To make it a crime to falsely report people for minor infractions, which many people of colour suffer from in everyday situations such as having a BBQ, bird watching, going to your gym, trying to enter your own building and jogging - all activities people of colour have been shot, murdered and harassed for doing around the globe.”
And remember, even though George was killed in the US, racism isn’t an ‘American problem’ or a ‘black problem’. It is a human rights issue that affects all of humanity across all continents.
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