I’ll begin this post by saying that there are a plethora of resources and articles out there on this topic, and if you’re looking for information or real in-depth analysis on racism and the Black Lives Matter movement, you should look elsewhere. I am far from an expert on this topic, so much so that I don’t really feel comfortable writing about it and didn’t actually intend to. I don’t pretend that my knowledge even scratches the surface of what’s really going in with this global issue. I can only try to educate myself as best I can whilst actively protesting against racism. However, as I use my blog to publish my thoughts and opinions, it seemed only right that I share my observations. Therefore my post is merely my observation and opinion of this week’s activity, nothing more.
Disclaimer: I consider it obvious, but just in case it’s not, I also wanted to add that as a white female, I will never understand what it’s like to be a person of colour, nor can I understand the societal issues that affect people of colour. White privilege is real, and I can only do what I can to educate myself and others and do my bit in striving towards a planet that is not only free of racism but actively anti-racist. I can also comment on my perception and opinion of recent events surrounding the Black Lives Matter movement.
The Black Lives Matter Movement
On 25th May 2020, black American George Floyd died at the hands of a white police officer, who knelt on his neck for almost nine minutes whilst he was handcuffed on the floor, informing the officer that he couldn’t breathe. His murder has been the catalyst for uproar over both police brutality and the blatant racism that continues to exist in today’s society. It is abysmal that people of colour are losing their lives at the hands of police simply because of the colour of their skin. It seems that whilst nothing else is being done to stop these crimes, protests and riots against both police brutality and racism in general are seen by many as the only solution to make a stand. The Black Lives Matter movement is louder than ever right now, and people need to pay attention.
Everyone has their own different ways of supporting this movement. Some may donate to causes, others may actively educate others by sharing materials created by people of colour. Many people shared a black square on social media for #BlackOutTuesday, and others continue to call people out for displaying racist behaviours on a regular basis. People are trying to learn, trying to be better, and that’s only a good thing to me.
Why Are People Turning on Each Other?
Like any other grave injustice or societal issue, there’s a downside which somewhat takes away from the cause. Social media is awful right now, and people seem incapable of not arguing with others. People are turning on others who are supporting the exact same cause! There’s being constructive, and there’s being aggressive, and the reasons behind these arguments seem futile and taking away from what really matters. People are criticizing others because they aren’t posting anything on social media, then complaining when they do because they’re not saying the right thing. As a result, people aren’t speaking up because they’re afraid of saying the wrong thing, and then are being called out anyway for not doing anything! I understand the ideology that ‘some people don’t have the privilege to stay quiet’, but when people become overwhelmed and intimidated by others, whilst supposedly fighting the same cause, they recluse, and that is damaging to the cause. Just because people aren’t posting online doesn’t mean they’re not learning, researching or educating themselves, nor does it mean they support or condone racism in any way. What is the point of turning on each other whilst fighting for the same cause?! It makes no sense.
The Bigger Picture
It still astounds me that people don’t realise the influence of the media. We have a collective responsibility to consider the entire picture and apply common sense. I’ve heard people refer to the Black Lives Matter movement as ‘those people vandalising everything’. Yes, people are looting shops, damaging businesses and properties and being violent towards others in the name of this movement, and do I condone such behaviour? Absolutely not. Some of what I’m seeing is sickening. But you know what’s also sickening? The mistreatment of black people because of their skin colour. It is important to have the sense to know that not all the people you see in the media are trouble causers.
There’ll always be those people who claim to be supporting the cause but are just out to cause trouble – that’s just how life is. But for a lot of people, enough is enough, and seemingly the only way to create a stir right now is to riot. Large-scale protests have been proven to spark change, and change is way overdue. Whilst I’ll never condone violence, and some of the behaviour I’m seeing is disgraceful, trying to see why people are behaving in these ways might help to understand the bigger picture. Nothing else has resolved the issue so far, so people are turning as a last resort to chaos and unrest to get themselves heard. It’s up to me, you and everybody else to understand that there is a wider issue at play here and do something productive to help. Don’t judge an entire movement based on a few irresponsible individuals.
My fear is that whilst everybody is so intent on attacking each other and calling people out for every single thing they do, I can’t help but think that the powers that be have a very easy way out for not doing anything at all to resolve these issues, because the issue will resolve itself when society implodes. Nothing remotely progressive will come from arguing with one another. Solidarity is key, and until we learn to collectively focus on and work to fix the wider issue, there will be no solution.
Racism is very real, whether you believe it to be or not. It is rife and it is dangerous. That is literally all there is to this. Something has to change, and time would be much better spent addressing the real issues than arguing with each other. There should be no need to take sides in a war against racism. There is only one side and that is that people, regardless of race, should be treated equally.
There is work to be done from us all. One day, hopefully in the near future, there should be no need for the quote anymore because everybody will be treated equally.
Until that day, Black Lives Matter.