BLACK LIVES MATTER
I’ve been thinking about what to write over the last couple of days. I desperately want to help besides reposting others words and posts. I have donated to the bail fund, I have signed petitions and shared for others to do the same.
But in my eyes, I have failed with my responsibility as a white male to enforce equality in my community, and justice in my world. Recently, I have felt ashamed. I’ve felt embarrassed and I’ve felt disgusted. Why? Because of the oppression of black people worldwide - not just in America, or the United Kingdom. Worldwide.
I have never had to alter the way of my life because of my race. I have never felt any disadvantage in my life because of my race. I have never ever faced racism because of the colour my skin. I have never had to stop and think about my behaviour based on my ethnicity.
I am a white, blond haired, blue eyed male that has grown up in a generally wealthy area. I have grown up attending a private school and playing multiple sports. I have had money in my pocket, material possessions at my feet and opportunities my whole life. I’ve had it easy all my life compared to most - the biggest troubles I’ve faced come along the lines of what will my grades look like and can I attend a university that’s better than another, let alone a university at all. And it’s not because I’m white - it’s because I’m NOT black or a minority. That’s what privilege sounds like.
Despite all this, I have attended a school in Croydon, I live round the corner from both Peckham and Brixton - areas of London that are known for being under privileged and often stereotyped due to their high percentage population of BAME citizens. I have witnessed first hand racial profiling, stereotyping and racism, on buses, at football matches and on the streets. And although I would like to consider myself a kind, empathetic person - I have also found myself guilty on more than a few occasions growing up, thinking in a pre-determined racist manner. Not because I’m a bad person, but because of the environments I’ve been exposed to and learnt from.
I realised how privileged I was when I saw videos circulating the internet of black people being killed and hurt - stereotyped, racially profiled and selected purely based on the pigment of their skin. Period. Imagine being abused for your skin tone - you can’t change that? It’s nothing you can control? To think people then turn on themselves and feel ashamed because of an uncontrollable characteristic. I feel sick at the thought.
I can’t even begin to compare my adversities. So I’m not sure how it’s not easy to see that from the eyes of every white person ever. Im not going to attack white people or privileged people for the lifestyle they’ve been lucky enough to live - many were born into the life they have.
But so have black people. And the life they were born into is much more difficult from the moment they are born - right at the beginning because of the colour of their skin. Many black people are born guilty, and remain so until proven innocent. So excuse me white people for questioning this but, how would you feel if you had to battle for your rights and freedoms because of the way you look. You wouldn’t even know where to start.
We as a white community, must do more. It is not enough for us to be “not racist”. We must actively be anti-racist. We are no better than those who pray on people of colour if we do not use our voice to battle it. We must not only educate ourselves, and our children, and our children’s children so that this abhorrent, anti-human behaviour is wiped from our planet, but we must also call others out when we witness systemic racism - we cannot be bystanders anymore.
To anyone who has been effected by racism, who fears racism, who has struggled at any point because of the colour of their skin, who has had opportunities missed in life or has had adversity because of their race. I’m truly, utterly and inconsolably apologetic.
I will do anything and everything I can to be better, to educate myself and to learn so that I can help create a better world for the black community. I don’t want to just jump on a bandwagon, and I also realise that at the end of the day this is not about how I feel.
This is a responsibility, a stand and a change every single white person MUST abide by; we must use our mistakes from the past and learn from them, in order to create a better future.