The events leading up to today have been a really somber, hard hitting reality check for me. Until recently, I lived in a primarily white community, was raised by white parents, and attended mostly white schools. Because of this, it’s very easy to think in 2020, living in a predominantly white environment, that racism does not exist.
And it always has done. Will Smith filmed an interview in 2016 (view here), where he states that racism has always been around, and that (paraphrasing), there isn’t more of it now, it is simply that more of it is being filmed.
And with this filming, comes more public knowledge. People all over the world are seeing the effects of racism and a light is being shone on it. Because of this, almost all of us will be aware (or more aware) of the deeply troubling events that have happened recently in the US. The murder of George Floyd does not, and should not, sit silently with me or any of us. A human had his life taken, whilst pleading for air. That is not acceptable. And he is not the first.
Up until these recent events, I am ashamed to say I was blind to white supremacy, and would feel uncomfortable at the phrase ‘white privilege’. I would consider myself to make my own fortune and work hard for my privileges. This was the sad result of being raised in a society that is predominantly white, and having very little influence from other communities, like a lot of us experience. But the long and short of it is this :
- My parents never had to teach me to be wary of police officers because of the colour of my skin.
- I was never concerned with being turned down for a job because of the colour of my skin.
- And I have never suffered racial abuse because of the colour of my skin.
So yes, I am white, and privileged. Privileged that I have not had to endure what so many others have had to. Privileged that I have never experienced racial inequality directly, because I am in a racial majority group. And privileged to have, for the majority of my life, been fairly unaffected by racism in our society.
But I am not willing to be unaffected any more. When members of the human race are suffering, I am not prepared to stand by, in silence and do nothing, say nothing. And this is the most crucial part of being anti-racist. Acknowledging when you don’t understand or haven’t fully comprehended the extent of a situation, then noticing that your thoughts and actions are the product of a problematic society. I, along with many others, must call myself out, apologise for not knowing better and then educate myself to be able to do better.
We are all humans and we all make mistakes, no one will get it right 100% of the time. But let’s work together to call ourselves out when we do make mistakes, amend our mistakes and then work to achieve a global change. Take ownership, accountability and responsibility.
I never want any of my friends or family to feel undervalued, under appreciated or fear for their lives, because of the colour of their skin. In this day and age, living in seemingly such an accepting society, it shocks me that racism is even still prevalent. Which is why I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve done more research and reading around the topic, educating myself on the issue. I cannot begin to understand the pain and heartbreak those in the black community are suffering and I cannot say I know everything, or am aware of all the issues going on. But I can say, this is a topic I feel passionately about, one I will continue to learn about, and something I will try to help advocate for change on.
This is a minority, calling out for recognition and help. Without the efforts of white people, this is a losing battle. Not because black people are incapable of creating change, quite the opposite : it is because they are NOT THE PROBLEM. Those who stay silent on the issue, those in power, those who have not experienced racial inequality are the ones who need to be better, to understand more and to work the hardest for change.
IT SHOULD NOT BE THE RESPONSIBILITY OF THE OPPRESSED TO END THE OPPRESSION.
Without help from the oppressors to end the oppression, black lives will continue to be undervalued. So it is our duty and mission to take on this battle too.
Not all of us will be able to donate to worthy causes and a lot of us wish we could do something to help make an impact or a change. So, we have gathered resources to share with you all to better educate us all and raise awareness of the BLM Movement, and how we can help.
SUPPORTING OVER YOUTUBE:
Thanks to some of my friends, I’ve been shown this video and would like to share it with you all :
Essentially, by streaming this video you donate to ‘black lives matter’. Make sure when you watch you…
- Disable any browser ad blockers
- Don’t skip any ads
- Rewatch and share
‘This video was created to offer people a way to donate to ‘black lives matter’ without having any actual money or going out to protest themselves’ – The rest of the instructions are in the video description.
EMAIL YOUR LOCAL MPS:
Conduct research on whether your MP has spoken out about the recent events in America, or racism in general. You can check Twitter, Facebook and local news to see if they have spoken out against it. Go to https://www.theyworkforyou.com/mps/ to see how your MPs vote on different issues.
If you learn they haven’t obviously opposed or had a say on the issue of racism, ask them why, put pressure on them to comment and positively impact the issue. You can find their email addresses at: https://members.parliament.uk/constituencies
SUPPORT BLACK CREATORS AND BLACK OWNED BUSINESSES:
This is a really easy way to shift your focus and expand your personal culture, by broadening your mind (and often Instagram feed!), to include more black influencers, businesses and education/information. Here’s a list of ten black owned business or influencers we love & follow:
- @styleidealist – IG influencer, focusing on fashion, lifestyle & beauty, writing about her life and self-discovery.
- @musingsofacurvylady – IG influencer with a stunning feed, focusing on body positivity and loving yourself.
- A.Au Clothing Brand (@shopa.au) – Handmade fashion, inspired by global experiences and promoting independence, creative director & founder is @asiyami_gold
- @femmeblk – IG influencer, anti-racist, fashion lover and foodie!
- @thepatriciabright – IG influencer and a @savagexfenty Ambassador; this girl has a whole lot of sass and a whole lot of knowledge.
- @gabifresh – IG influencer who has an incredible lingerie collection at Playful Promises and supports the BLM movement, as well as being an advocate for mental health.
- Karen Blanchard – YouTuber and blogger, inspiring style and lifestyle choices, as well as advocating for anti-racism and raising donation awareness. (She also has amazing hair!)
- @amaka.hamelijnck – IG influencer and supporter of the BLM movement. She has a beautiful feed & speaks up about what’s important!
- @withloveyossy – IG influencer with great links to other black content creators and influencers! She also has the most stunning feed with tonnes of important notes in.
- ZAAF (@zaafcollection) – an award-winning luxury brand for ‘Global Nomads’, made in Africa.
PETITIONS TO SIGN FOR CHANGE:
- Justice for George Floyd [change.org]
- Colours of Change #JusticeForFloyd [change.org]
- Ending police violence and brutality in America [joincampaigzero.org/]
- Demanding the officers who murdered George Floyd be charged appropriately [Colour of Change]
- Legislating a ‘Hands Up’ Act [change.org]
TV SHOWS AND FILMS TO WATCH:
When They See Us [Released 2019, available on Netflix]
13th [Released 2016, available on Netflix]
Noughts and Crosses [2020, available on BBC iPlayer]
Dear White People [2014 film available on Amazon Prime Video, 2017 TV series available on Netflix]
I am Not Your Negro [2016, available on Amazon Prime Video]
This list is by no means exhaustive, and I hope we can continually update this Blog Post to remain relevant and current as the fight goes on. As a brand, we hope to continually update our knowledge and pledge to incorporate more black influencers, models and team members into our company.
No one is born with hatred, prejudice or racism in their heart. It won’t be today or tomorrow, but as a United whole, we will educated ourselves and & future generations, to eradicate racism. We can all use our voices to help amplify the ones of those stifled for too long. I look forward to the day when everyone, no matter their skin colour, feels safe, loved and valued.
Creative Director X Founder, Miller & Whitelaw.