We live in incredible times...
Those who don’t follow my Twitter feed (where I usually package my vitriol), those who don’t speak to me regularly and thus hear my incessant ranting, and those that aren’t privy to the constant level of conversation and news dissection that occurs in my home on a daily basis, may not be aware of my views.
So, I’d just like to state, unequivocally, for the record and for the avoidance of any doubt:
Black Lives Matter.
I shouldn’t have to say that. But I do.
There are those that might respond ‘all lives matter’ and I understand why you’d say that, but you’re wrong to respond that way.
There are those who would respond ‘white lives matter’ and I have absolutely no fucking time for you people.
I don’t mean to preach, I’m not best placed to do so – but I must say this:
I stand with the protestors. I stand with black people.
I live in a system based almost entirely on white supremacy. I was educated in a whitewashed curriculum that sought to hide this fact... How little we learned in school about colonialism!!
I grew up almost believing that racism was a thing of the past – a problem that had been solved long ago with protests and legislation and increasingly aware and progressive generations.
When I encountered racism (never directed at me, obviously) it was like a relic from an older time, and shocking as much for its rarity as its abhorrence.
I’ve long since learned this is not the case, and that while being ‘openly racist’ is deemed unacceptable, systemic racism and racial disparity is so ingrained in our society that in truth I have unfairly benefitted from it every day of my life.
I am not in danger because of the colour of my skin. I am not discriminated against. No-one makes assumptions about me or feels threatened by me as I walk past them in the street. I have nothing to fear from police.
I’ve had the luxury of deciding when and if I will engage with issues of racial prejudice. I am ashamed of each and every occasion on which I’ve taken the easy way out by not challenging prejudice when I saw it. I’m not proud of the occasions on which I’ve taken a stand, because that should be the norm, not something worthy of pride.
I’ve come to learn there is a vast gulf between ‘not-racist’ and ‘anti-racist’. The former is easy, it’s passive. The latter is more difficult, it’s action, every day.
I wasn't at the protests in London yesterday, as travelling on public transport right now seems pretty dangerous. It’s difficult, because while there is a huge public health issue in thousands amassing to protest, the reason for the protest is too important to ignore. In truth, we should be protesting every single day. In truth, we shouldn’t have to.
It feels like this moment, for so many reasons, could be a tipping point – and I’m angry. I’m angry that it’s taken this long and that this is still an issue in 2020. I’m angry at myself for not being at every damned protest that has ever occurred in my lifetime. I’m utterly bereft in the knowledge that we have a racist prime minister. That America has a racist president. That the ‘arc of history’, does not it seems, bend toward justice. I despair at the rise of populism, the legitimacy of racism as a fucking ‘point of view’. I’m angry at every single person who votes for more inequality and policies that while devastating for all, will be particularly so for people of colour.
I want change.
So, once again, I’d like to add my voice to those shouting: BLACK LIVES MATTER.