2020 has been one wild ride! Australian bush fires, A world-wide pandemic, planes being shot out of the sky, to name but a few. However, the death of George Floyd is probably one of the most prominent of these events and one which shook the world into much-needed action to fight racism, discrimination and a fundamentally unjust system. It’s frankly appalling that it has taken us this long and has cost so many lives to wake up to the fact that racism is not a thing of the past and discrimination is still commonplace, even here in the UK. I am guilty of assuming there isn’t a problem because I have not been affected by it, but I, like many others are now striving to do better. I have been taking this time to try and educate myself on the issues surrounding racism both in the UK and overseas. I think it’s a common misconception that racism is a thing of the past and not something we need to consider in today’s society. But, the unfortunate fact is that racism is still happening and we all need to work together to tackle it.
Sometimes the right information can be hard to find and this can generate a lot of confusion. Since the death of George Floyd, I have been trying to educate myself by listening to people who are much wiser than me and seek out information so I can understand and see how I, as a white, British woman can do my bit. So I figured now was a great time to post some helpful information and point you in the right place to find out more and how you can do your bit.
Addressing the “All lives Matter” Argument
Firstly, I just felt I needed to address this as I’ve seen it circulating a lot and prior to educating myself, I’ve been guilty of thinking this phrase. However, since I’ve gone out into the world, looked at resources and listened to people who are much more eloquent than I am at explaining the issues, I think I am now in a better position to try and address this in my own words.
Firstly, all lives do matter, of course they do! We should all be striving for a world where everyone has equal intrinsic value. We aren’t talking about sharing a cake here, more rights for another doesn’t correlate to fewer rights for you as a result. No one has to come out on the bottom, we can all benefit. And for those who say that our system can’t work this way, well frankly that’s not good enough.
Just because the movement is called “Black Lives Matter” doesn’t mean their agenda is to take over, to turn the tables or that they discriminate against other races. A good example would be the feminism movement; feminists are fighting for EQUALITY between men and women, but it’s called feminism because classically it’s the female of the species who have fewer rights, opportunities and respect. The black lives matter movement is the same, they aren’t fighting for black people to be on top, they don’t want a world of black supremacy and they aren’t putting themselves above other races. They are campaigning for equality, but like with feminism, it’s the black people who classically suffer at the hands of an unjust system more frequently.
We also have to consider kindness. I have seen a post circulating a lot which really helped me understand why using the “all lives matter” argument right now is not appropriate. I’m sorry as I don’t know who the original creator or poster of this message was but I saw it on Jeni Maus’ Instagram. In a nutshell, the post described several examples of when saying “all lives matter” or words to that effect is technically true but would be very inappropriate and insensitive at the time. An example is when someone’s loved one dies, someone responds with, “well all people die.” This is true, but someone would have to be incredibly cruel to say that to someone who is grieving. Again, of course, all lives matter but to respond with that at this moment in time is hurtful and inconsiderate towards a community who have been really struggling for years with discrimination.
Another great analogy is to look at a family who has just had a new baby. Those parents have to dedicate more time and effort to support their newborn even though they have other children. Just because those parents are focusing on their new child doesn’t mean they don’t love their other children or consider them less important. The parents are just addressing the need that is greatest at the time. No life matters more than another, but at the moment the black community need us to care for them and need more of our energy to stand with them and support them.
I think we have been given an opportunity to start a conversation we’ve needed to have for a very long time. It’s our responsibility now to keep that conversation going, to keep on learning and striving to do better. In the coming weeks, the protests and Black Lives Matter are likely to slip from the news and the trending feeds on social media, but this time out of sight won’t mean out of mind and behind the scenes, I for one will continue to step out of my comfort zone, continue to have the conversations that need to be had and continue to push for change and equality. I hope this post helps a little way in doing that.
Useful Educational Resources
I have tried to find several resources which have lots of material in one place for you to sink your teeth in to and can keep referring back to for more. I apologise if there’s some cross over, though if certain resources are featured on several lists, I’d say those materials are probably great ones to start with.
Good Reads – I’ve found this an excellent resource for finding reading material on the Black Lives Matter movement and on racism, white privilege etc. There are lots of lists put together, discussions and book clubs to join that are easy to find and there’s a large spectrum of materials on there for all ages. https://www.goodreads.com/genres/black-lives-matter
Zoe Sugg (formerly known as Zoella) compiled a great list of resources here including accounts to follow to continue the conversation and education on the movement, books to read, Documentaries to watch, ways to donate how you can support the cause. She also has a great list of influencers to follow over on her Instagram too which is pinned on her resources tab. https://zoella.co.uk/2020/06/01/black-lives-matter-resources/
Yet again a huge list of resources here created by ACPA from books, to podcasts, ways to support, education resources and more! https://docs.google.com/document/d/1G9iGnw36kZC7gFINmqKxKmxfiJvY8DRKU1BN43NhKt4/edit#
Here are a few books, podcasts and documentaries featured in a Glamour online article https://www.glamourmagazine.co.uk/gallery/black-lives-matter-anti-racism-resources
Elle Magazine has produced several great articles filled with resources on podcasts, fashion and make up brands for you to sink your teeth into and support the movement. https://www.elle.com/fashion/shopping/g32741893/black-owned-fashion-brands/
Netflix has created a category on the streaming platform to promote black lives matter films and documentaries which can be accessed via this link or by typing in black lives matter into your Netflix search bar. netflix.com/blacklivesmatter