Black Lives Matter.
I watched the killing of George Floyd on social media and the news with horror and disbelief. I quickly realised that this disbelief was not helpful. The more I have read and researched and listened, the more I have understood that not only do violence and discrimination against black people and people of colour happen, it happens everywhere and often. I felt shame regarding my disbelief and wanted to go to the uncomfortable place in myself to find the reality of racism. I started reading the book White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo, she wrote about training staff on diversity. It transported me back 18 years to when I received diversity training at work. I remember the discomfort and the indignation I felt about talking about race and the overwhelming need to prove that I am not a racist. How could I be, my partner is a person of colour? I felt anger and assumed that the facilitator was trying to imply that I was racist. And there it is right there…. the point is missed, conversation over. No space for helpful discussion and a chance to be educated about racism and how it affects all of us. It can be uncomfortable. I started conversations with friends, family and colleagues. It is uncomfortable but I realise that without these discussions, we shut down chances to understand ourselves and be helpful in working towards creating change. I hear people on the media saying racism doesn’t exist or that all lives matter. These 2 images which were widely circulated helped a resounding penny to drop….
Racism does exist. Many people who are high up in power or academia or popularity have been heard to state racism doesn’t exist. But it simply does and it exists in all of us, even though we may be totally unaware of it.
The question is how can I help now and every day until shifts are made in terms of racial equality and racism.
Some things I have found helpful in learning, listening and taking action.