BLACK LIVES MATTER – S U M A S

This is a serious post with a serious topic and issue. Please do not ignore this post and spread the word. Through this post I hope to provide tips and insights into educating yourself on the issue of racism and taking personal steps towards making a positive impact.

RACE. Race is a word generally used to distinguish between different coloured people. In the Cambridge Dictionary it is defined as “a group, especially of people, with particular similar physical characteristics, who are considered as belonging to the same type, or the fact of belonging to such a group”. Every single human being, belongs to a society, to a community, but most importantly, to humanity. This alone, should be enough reason to treat everyone with equality and respect. We are all the same skin and bones, each of us unique in our own way, but things that make us special should not be used as a weapon against us. Accepting that deep down we are all the same seems to be huge challenge, and one that we absolutely must tackle, for the fight is taking innocent lives and hurting our friends and families, and it has been doing so for centuries. In the words of Emma Watson: “If not me, who? If not now, when?”.

RACISM, defined as “the belief that people’s qualities are influenced by their race and that the members of other races are not as good as the members of your own, or the resulting unfair treatment of members of other races”. Put in one word; INEQUALITY. In other words, people of different ethnicity, colour or any other VISUAL characteristic that is different from your own are automatically put into a different category and position in our modern society. People are the ones who have come up with these definitions, and all people using these differentiating words, have the power to change their meaning, to stop using them in a negative way and to teach the younger generations to know and do better than has been done for centuries in the past, and what unfortunately still continues up to this day.

We shouldn’t even have such a word as racism, for there should not be such horrid thing, but as it still very much exists, even if not in your daily life, or even if you do not personally experience it, it happens everyday, and not just to people of colour. Not seeing racism around you does not mean you live in a racism free environment, and it does not mean you should stay quiet about it. Just like there is online bullying, there is online racism, and it is not any less of a problem than actual racism. Many young children experience online racism from other young children who have not been educated in this matter and are ignorant on how serious it is. A very small percentage of children receive education on history of humanity and why it is wrong to differentiate people. This is a terrible mistake by our schooling systems and as we may not just rely on parents or caretakers to provide children with the right explanations as many adults and elderly have grown up in even more ignorant and racist environments that luckily no longer exist, but that still very much have the wrong mindset that is passed to our future generations. Change of mindset is crucial if we want to make a change and make future generations a better version of current ones that will make a difference in the future and won’t repeat our mistakes. If you have children, or younger siblings or even with your parents and grandparents, have a chat, have an educational documentary night or do a small book club. Even a small chat is already a step towards something, whether you agree or don’t with their opinions, seek explanations to why you see things differently, and try to understand, for it is better to go through an uncomfortable discussion, rather than ignore a burning topic.

You must fight for others, because that is what equality is, a mindset of “one for all and all for one” is crucial, maybe more now than ever before. Imagine you suddenly find yourself in a racist situation, where someone is insulting you to your deepest core, would you not want someone to stand beside you and fight with you and for your right to be who you are? Would you not want someone to defend your sibling, your child or your parent or friend? ANYONE can fall a victim to racism, and we must fight against it. There are already enough problems our humanity and generation has to deal with, let us not keep adding logs to the burning flame.

Down below I have gathered some useful links and recommendations alongside with everyday tips as to how you can spread awareness on racism and how to fight against it, step by step, together.

what can YOU do?

  • TALK ABOUT IT, don’t ignore it, don’t pretend you don’t see racism or know about it. Bring it up in conversations with family members, friends, your school and work place. If someone finds the topic UNCOMFORTABLE; even more reason to bring it up.

  • EDUCATE YOURSELF, read books, listen to speakers and activists, ask questions and make it a priority. It is your own responsibility what kind of person you are and become. If you were raised one way, it does not mean it is right or that you should stay that way. Gather information and decide for yourself.

  • DONATE TO ANTI RACISM ORGANIZATIONS, there are multiple organisations dedicated to fighting this and they need all the help they can get. Have a look online for organisations near you, maybe you can offer your time by volunteering or by donating. Even some local community centres have nights or days dedicated to talking about such issues, go and participate and grab a friend with you, spread the word. One example would be to check out ENAR (European Network Against Racism) if you are in Europe.

  • SIGN PETITIONS, share them, sign them, it is absolutely free and only takes about 2 minutes if not less.

BOOKS

  • Americanah – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

  • White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard For White People To Talk About Racism – Robin DiAngelo

  • So You Want To Talk About Race – Ijeoma Oluo

  • How To Be Antiracist – Ibram X. Kendi

for younger readers:

  • This Book Is Anti-Racist – Tiffany Jewell

  • Stamped – Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi

FILMS/SERIES/DOCUMENTARIES

  • When They See Us – Netflix series, 4 episodes

  • Moonlight – movie, available on Netflix

  • The Black List: Volume One https://youtu.be/dBKB3U4thbQ

for younger audience:

  • Remember The Titans – movie

PODCASTS/INSTAGRAM IGTV

  • Congrats, you woke up. Now what? – @danielleprescod

  • It’s Time To Get Uncomfortable – Group Chat, podcast episode

  • It’s not enough to just say “I’m not racist” – @chrissyford

I hope you take action and speak up, even if you do not personally feel like you are affected, please be considerate of others.

“THERE COMES A TIME WHERE SILENCE IS BETRAYAL.” – MARTIN LUTHER KING JR.

All best,

Ana x

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