Where do I start…
It’s hard to put into words the rollercoaster that black bodies go through. On the one hand, the progression that has been made in the past 11 months can’t be denied, but the BLM movement hasn’t stopped history from repeating itself.
The past month has felt like an onslaught on the advancement towards equality, and if you ask my (very measured) opinion, this isn’t by accident; this is by design. You see, systemic racism is a powerhouse; you can’t just plop a few brown faces on the TV and think that real and sustained change is imminent. In fact, on-the-surface changes can actually uphold systemic racism – “racism doesn’t exist, look at Barack Obama”; “black people are more recognised for their contributions, look how many black people have been nominated for/won awards this year”; “There’s so much diversity on our screens now!”… However, black people are still needlessly dying every day.
Let me ask you this (and when I say you, I mean every person out there); have you checked on your black friends and family? Have you asked them how they felt after the release of the flawed Race and Ethnic Disparities report? Have you shared your personal outrage at the unlawful killing of Daunte Wright? Are you concerned about the outcome of the Derek Chauvin Trial that’s due to conclude this week?
I fear that many are becoming desensitised to the pain of black people, and cognitive dissonance will have some believing (in the back of their minds, no doubt) that enough is enough already. I look back a year ago when black squares were trending, and look now at the depleting conversations taking place at our private dining tables.
I can only talk for myself, but every day is a mental struggle. I refuse to turn a blind eye to the daily pains I see on my timeline; other than taking regular social media breaks, when I’m back in, I’m fully immersed in the injustices that continue before all of our eyes.
Black people, I understand you want to preserve your peace, and white people, I get that you don’t quite know what to do when you see another incident occurring, but simply, we all have to open up the lines of communication. We need to ask one another how we’re doing… what we’re feeling… and importantly, what’s the next move?
Racial trauma is real. For every injustice we see, the switch that triggers all the negative feelings drawn from black peoples lived experiences flicks on. Without the solidarity and support from others, especially those who directly or indirectly benefit from this relentlessly unfair system, we are only likely to create further divisions rather than close the unity gap.
I’ve said it several times, and I’ll continue to say it at every opportunity; if you’re not willing to stand up and join the brigade, then you are complicit in racism. Some will say, “then you are racist”, however, I believe complacency and apathy (the cousins of racism) are more at play.
If there’s one thing you can do today, text your black friends and family and ask us if we’re ok. Be ready to speak to us about the outcome of George Floyd’s murderer’s trial; be prepared to listen to what we have to say and understand that things may be uncomfortable at some points of the conversations; this is necessary to break the bonds of racism.
Show us you care by showing you care.