It is impossible to find the words to say, when so many of the words that circulate are filled with hatred, woe, and ignorance. It is impossible to find the words to say when I will never understand. It is impossible to find the words to say when the fear of selecting the wrong words, diminishes the desire to speak. But, the feeling of fear that we, as the white community, have of saying something wrong is nothing in comparison to the fear that black people experience every day. Yes, every day. Yes, in this country. Yes, in spite of the fact that you have black friends and you’re ‘not racist’. Racism exists in the DNA of our culture, curated over decades and centuries of misunderstanding the human race. Of misunderstanding what we came here for and what we are a part of. White supremacy exists and complicity is no longer enough. Vocabulary is changing and it’s ok to be confused and to not understand, but ignorance will not suffice, silence will not suffice. I still make mistakes and I have been checking myself ever since I made an ignorant comment to a friend years ago. I still occasionally speak like a child who doesn’t understand that you can’t say things like “why are you fat?”. However, I am not a child, I need to hold myself accountable for the mistakes that I make. We have a responsibility to unlearn all of the hatred and subtleties that our forbearers have cast on to us. We have a responsibility to learn new forms of communication, new forms of behaviour. Enter this new era as a time for hope, leaving your defensiveness in the past. This is not about you being in the wrong, this is about the society that we have blindly moved through being in the wrong. This is about believing in love, justice, and equality. Due to recent circumstances, which are not recent at all but systematic with a long and painful history, enough is enough. Being ‘not-racist’ is not enough if you believe in the social justice of all people. We must now be anti-racist.
There is a lot to digest and the pressure to act is high, so move consciously with love, and you will learn and grow. You may think that this doesn’t affect you because you live in a place that is predominantly white and you never partake in racist acts, but this affects you the most. Those dinner parties where someone makes a joke, which you know has crossed a line and you wouldn’t dare to say in front of a black person, start there. Start by challenging the engrained racism that exists around you, open your eyes to your own assumptions, your own failings and to the subtleties and micro-aggressions that we have allowed to infiltrate the 21st century. This is stuff of history books; this should not be happening in a society that has limitless information and endless connections. Nobody can change the colour of their skin; you cannot help that society favours you as a white person and provides you with white privilege – but is there not enough abundance to go around? Is there not enough space at the top? Just because somebody else is entitled to glory, it does not mean that you too will not be glorified. Check your privilege. Don’t be defensive. Don’t be defensive. Hold your hands up and acknowledge that you are privileged due to the colour of your skin. Help. You can help by listening, by admitting that you will never understand but you are willing to stand up, to change and to care. To care about something that doesn’t directly affect you. Your whiteness doesn’t make you a bad person, it makes you a person with a voice, with a position to initiate, with an ability to share your privilege.
If you don’t usually post about social justice online or you don’t like to politicise your Instagram account, or social media leaves you feeling anxious and afraid, that’s ok. Don’t feel the need to re-tweet or post for the sake of it. Go away and better yourself in private, sign petitions, watch documentaries, read books, journal on your own experience of white supremacy, and embrace the future of humanity. A future in which our children, born free of hatred and judgement, will retain this position throughout their lives. A future in which accountability will be normalised and conversations will be open, expansive, and progressive. A future in which the colour of your skin will not be a death sentence. This does affect you, because we inhabit this world as one race, we cannot only notice the things that affect us directly, or else change will never come. Don’t be afraid to be wrong, be afraid to remain the same.
I could speak for hours, days because there is so much to learn and even more to say. But as I said at the beginning of this blog, it is impossible to find the right words to say, I do not know enough. So, here are the words of those who do understand, the words of those who can advise and help the white community to maneuverer this shift in power. It’s been a long time coming.
‘The Greek meaning of apocalypse is to uncover, reveal, lay bare or disclose. Now is the time to face our personal and collective shadows. Now is the time to awaken.’@iamrachelricketts
‘The idea of whiteness being “of higher rank, quality, or importance” begins before you are even consciously aware of it’Layla F. Saad
‘No one is born hating another person because of the colour of their skin, of their background, or their religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.’Nelson Mandela
‘Now you’ve followed numerous BIPOC (black, indigenous, people of colour) doing anti-racism, liberation and social justice work, what next?
1. Read, listen, engage say thank you and when you share our posts say why you are sharing it. What did you learn? What’s you next action.
2. Explore our websites and offerings. What courses, services and other things can you prioritise?
3. Join our mailing lists.
4. Support Patreon.
5. Sign up for classes, workshops and courses. These practical tips should get you started and on your way to contributing to anti-racist work by BIPOC and investing in anti-racist education.’ @sharynaholmes
Let’s start here…this is a journey of solidarity because we all know at our core, that no matter our upbringing, equality is a basic human right .