Updated: Jul 13, 2020
“Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.”
Where do I even start?
It's been a difficult and pretty draining couple of weeks. I've wanted to write this blog post for a while now, but every time I start I can't quite find the words. I want my voice to be heard through every platform possible, and hopefully it'll feel good to get everything off my chest.
Being mixed race, white and black Caribbean, it's been a strange and confusing time for me in a lot of ways. I've always been comfortable in and proud of my skin, and I also realise the privilege my skin colour has given me over the years being light-skinned mixed race as opposed to black.
Despite being lighter, I feel so much of my black heritage within me and I'm so connected to those roots. I've felt the pain of the events that have been going on in the world on a huge scale, and I have taken it personally in many ways.
My Mum, a black woman, is my whole world and more. To think of her being treated so inhumanely based solely off the colour of her skin breaks my heart. I cannot imagine what the families of any of the black people who have lost their lives to these racially fuelled hate crimes must go through. The pain is unfathomable to me.
To me, those victims are my Mum, so it’s felt very real and very personal. As much as I’ve felt this collective pain deeply, I've also felt stifled like I want to express so much more in so many more ways but I don't quite know how.
I feel like my "blackness" makes it my battle too, but I also can't ignore the fact that I will never feel the pain that the black community has felt throughout their lives in whatever situations or severities that they have.
It's evil, it breeds hate, it destroys lives and it kills innocent people everyday. My heart has been so heavy, and I've been trying to find ways to help in any and every way that I can - still I can't shake this feeling of helplessness.
I know theres a lot of people out there who are feeling the same, especially those who know the colour of their skin has meant they are lucky enough to have white privilege throughout their life.
I've been thinking of ways that I can give guidance to anyone who is feeling confused or stuck for what to do. Aside from the obvious - signing petitions, donating, speaking out, having difficult conversations with friends and family, educating yourself...it really doesn't feel like enough.
I included the quote from Rumi at the top of this post because it resonated with me in terms of how I feel about moving forward, and sums up what my advice would be to anyone asking the question "well what now?"
Holding yourself accountable
Make sure you are checking yourself.
What thoughts are you thinking towards black people? Are you unintentionally speaking with micro-aggression towards black people when in the company of certain people or even privately inside your own mind? Are you choosing to remain ignorant because you don't want to address it or it makes you feel uncomfortable? Do you think that because you “have black friends" it's an excuse or a ‘get out of jail free card’? Are you doing right by those friends? Are you using your white privilege to amplify their voice when they themselves cannot?
I really urge any non-black person to truly look inside of themselves and ask those intrusive but necessary questions. Accept responsibility, because the responsibility is yours. It's OURS.
Even myself as a black-mixed race woman who is pretty clued up on her black history, I've made sure I've taken the time to educate myself on some of the things I didn't already know., and I wasn't really prepared for what I discovered. It only highlighted more to me that we need to make it our business to educate.
Don't approach your black friends and ask them how you can help. We live in an age where everything is so accessible and you can learn practically anything through Google and YouTube. Do the research. Spend time. You owe black people that much at the bare minimum.
Once you know the the facts - how and why you should be fighting alongside the black community will make sense to you I promise.
Knowledge is power, and knowing will give you the driving force to change - change your perception, change your attitude, change your commitment, change YOURSELF.
So what I'm saying is, don't get fixated on trying to to change the world. First change yourself, then join us while we continue to remain active, vigilant and open to ways that we can further support and amplify this message.
#BlackLivesMatter - then, now and always.
I have created a highlight on my Instagram called 'BLM' which has lots of useful resources. Also if you visit this link, two incredible ladies Autumn Gupta and Bryanna Wallace created a GoogleDocs file with resources and links for you as step one to becoming an active ally to the black community. It breaks all the content down per day over 1 week or 4 weeks and depending on if you have 10, 25 or 45 minutes per day to dedicate to learning (amazing). There is literally no excuse!