I had scheduled a happy-go-lucky blog post today about small and sustainable changes I’d made in my life. But to post something so light and cheery seemed so disingenuous to me.
For those stumbling across this post in the future, or simply those who have not been looking at the news, eight days ago, George Floyd, an unarmed black man, was murdered whilst in police custody in America. Officer Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck for eight minutes, whilst Floyd uttered ‘I can’t breathe’, until he was killed. This unjust killing has sparked riots all over the world, calling out the systemic racism in the American justice system.
Over the past few days, I, like many other thousands of people, have been angry, burning with rage, seething at it all. Police with riot gear and tear gas have been called to peaceful protests, and these images have been all over social media. The hashtags #BlackLivesMatter and #JusticeForGeorgeFloyd have been trending non-stop, and #BlackOutTuesday put all over Instagram to a near standstill, with everyone and their dog posting a black square in solidarity.
I just worry that all of this noise and anger will be forgotten. I’m worried that people would have just posted a square, but will have not actually used their anger. I’m worried that people will Tweet “Black Lives Matter!” and then forget about it all in a week. By people, I of course mean fellow white people.
Performative actions don’t mean anything. Posting because your friends have is bullshit. The fact we have white skin makes us privileged. Use that privilege.
If you are one of those people who have posted a square in solidarity or shared a Tweet or shared a news story with the caption “so sad xoxo”, please act after that fact too. If you can donate to the cause, do it. If you can’t (as not all have the privilege of money to spare), educate yourself. Do your research, learn how to be a better ally, and use your voice. There are so many resources out there to learn from, and so many wonderful organisations that need lifting up. At the end of this post, I’ve included a list of places to donate, petitions to sign, and resources I’ve found useful in bettering my allyship.
Soon, I’ll return to posting about books, midsize style, body positivity, and whatnot. But right now, I would feel insincere and disingenuous by going along like nothing is happening. My ethos centres on bringing creativity, positivity, and honesty to the online world. Right now, being loudly and unabashedly honest about the state of the world is the most important thing. Activism will bring around positive change.
Please. If you have privilege; use it.
Donate & Educate
If you want to support UK based change, please look into the Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust
If you want to learn more about racism and how to be a good ally, please read Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge. It really opened my eyes to the ingrained racism the UK still has and taught me so much. Reni Eddo-Lodge has since requested that if you buy a copy of the book to match it with a donation, or borrow the book from a friend or the library, and donate the cost.
You can also find a great list of books to help get yourself educated here.