Last Monday, on the 25th of May 2020, a black man was killed by a white police officer in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The police officer knelt on the black man’s neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds, ultimately murdering him for allegedly forging a 20 dollar bill which later turned out to be false. His name was George Floyd. Unlike millions of others who experienced injustices because of their skin colour, his name will not be quickly forgotten by the world. George Floyd’s last words of “I can’t breathe” was the tipping point for millions whose ancestors before them were already gasping for air, stuck within a system, a society who wouldn’t let them breathe. His pain resonated throughout America, and quickly spread throughout the whole world.
Black people are sick and tired of being stereotyped, suppressed and killed because of their skin colour, not just in America but everywhere in the world. George Floyd was one of many who was judged unfairly because of his skin colour and suffered the consequences of racism which is so deeply ingrained within global and especially Western history and society. The events of the past week have really opened my eyes to the injustices occurring around the world and how much still needs to change.
George Floyd’s story personally impacted me and it made me realise how much more I could and should be doing. Being quarter black myself, I have often struggled with understanding my own identity. Whenever asked on documents for example what race I am, I never fully know what to answer because the box of mixed race is often missing. I would never answer black, yet answering white also doesn’t sit right, it feels as if I am hiding or suppressing a part of myself of which I am actually proud of. I embrace that part of myself, the history of my ancestors and my family. It reminds me of the awful things experienced by my ancestors who were taken from their homelands, sold as slaves and were forced to take on their slave masters surname, one that my grandfather and my dad still carry till this day. I am reminded of how powerful love can be when I hear the stories of my white grandmother who married my black grandfather despite the hate and prejudice they experienced, even being kicked out by her own family, yet till this day they are still together and happily married.
During a conversation with one of my best friends, she asked me a question I was surprised to get asked, “ Did you ever experience racism?” I had to think about that one because I had never thought about it and no, I mean I had been teased before about my nose being bigger than ‘white’ noses, but otherwise I believe I have always passed as white. And that of course is a whole problem in itself. When I told her this, she was glad that I had never experienced it but added that no one should have to pass as white to not suffer discrimination. Because of my skin colour, I have always had white privilege. I have never been harassed, stereotyped, or judged because of my skin colour and the system in which I was born into has given me the opportunity to go to a good school, to go to college, and to hopefully in the future have a good job. Just because I pass as white.
I asked on my instagram for people to send me their opinions cocnerning #BLM and white privilige and one of my friends responded with the fact that white people need to get a better understanding of what white privilege is. She explained that she, like so many other white people, do not know what white privilege entails and how the system works in their favour. White people often feel like they do not have the right to say something because they aren’t black but to all my white readers, your wrong. You are the ones who are in fact in a position of power where you can help enforce a change so black people can get the same opportunities and respect as white people do. What all of us need to do, including myself, is educate ourselves on white privilege and how we can help those who do not have it. The image below I believe well explains what white privilige is and why it differs to other types of priviliges.
So for all my fellow Caucasian readers or those who ‘pass’ as white, here are some things you can do to educate yourself because its simple:
- We all spends hours on social media so while your scrolling instagram or twitter, checkout the hashtag #blacklivesmatter, as it is filled with posts and tweets that inform you about white privilege, ongoing petitions and donation platforms.
- Follow black artists, activists and influencers who regularly post concerning #blacklivesmatter issues ( ex. @Violadavis,@osopepatrrisse,@mspackyetti, @laylafsaad)
- Check out websites such as blacklivesmatter (or their instagram) to keep updated on how you can help.
- Read books ( some of the previous mentioned instagram accounts are writers) or watch films and series. Netflix contains a lot of series, movies and documentaries. ( ex. 13th, Dear white people, When they see us) based on issues surrounding racism and white privilege. I would also recommend academy award winning director, Spike Lee who has directed a lot of films surrounding these issues.
- Little self promo but on my account @altchialtchi I have also been vocal surrounding the #blacklivesmatter and will continue to post information, movie and book suggestions etc. You can already checkout my story highlight, BLM, with posts posted from the past week.
- Lastly, after you have educated yourself, when you see or hear racism, speak up. You have a voice, so use it. Donate, sign petitions, protest, teach others and take on the difficult conversation with people who do not see or believe in white privilige or racism. Only if we all learn and fight can we have change.
In the end, what does it matter whether I am white, black, brown or anything in between? I bleed like any other, I have feelings and a heart just like any other, if you strip away my skin, I am flesh and bone, just like any other. I am Human. We all deserve respect and love and to be treated like a human being, whether we are black or white, christian or muslim, gay or straight, female or male. We are all human.
I want to hear your stories and opinions surrounding the #BLM movement. Dm me at @altchialtchi and you can ask me questions, give suggestions or simply have a conversation so we can all learn from one another. You can also comment down below or contact me via my email, firstname.lastname@example.org.
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