“If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have simply chosen the side of the oppressor” – Desmond Tutu.
This is just one of many quotes that has really stuck with me, and resonated with me since the tragic death of George Floyd. And to be completely honest, I only wish that I was writing this sooner. However, over the last few days, I have felt an array of emotions towards this subject; I’ve felt angry, helpless, confused, utterly sickened and truly devastated by what is currently happening in our world.
Why is it that people are still discriminating against others just because of the colour of their skin? In fact, I ask myself, WHY has this ever been a subject matter? How, in any form, should the colour of somebody’s skin help to determine how you treat them? Why are there people within our society who still value the lives of white citizens more than POC? How is this fair, how are they any different to us? WHEN will people just learn to treat everyone equally? These are all questions that I have been, and still am, trying to understand…
On Tuesday 2nd June, my Instagram was full of black squares, as I’m sure the majority of people’s feeds were. I chose not to participate in this ‘trend’ as it quickly became apparent to me that people were just posting these black squares just to tick a box and move on. Instead, I have been taking time out to actively research and fully understand this issue that continues to consume our modern society.
As many posts have pointed out, it is simply not enough to consider yourself as a ‘non-racist’ human being; instead we MUST all ensure that we are ‘anti-racist’. We must stand up for what we believe in, regardless of how many uncomfortable situations and conversations this puts you in. We must actively educate ourselves, and realise that posting a photo on social media is simply not enough. We must talk to family members and friends offline, and understand how lucky the majority of us are, to be able to go about our everyday lives without fearing that the colour of our skin will determine peoples actions towards us.
We must place ourselves in other peoples shoes and consider how it feels to be living as a minority in an unjust society. We must learn to treat everyone equally and pass this on to generations to come. We must take responsibility for our actions and donate where we can. And as individuals, we MUST carry on learning, and building upon our knowledge of this subject; because the one thing we MUST NEVER do, is ignore nor disregard this issue.
I understand it is easy to feel helpless in situations surrounding topics that you are not fully educated on. As I myself, am guilty of this. However, I urge you to break those barriers and immerse yourself in the abundance of information available on the internet.
Below, I have put together a list of books to read, series (and films) to watch, podcasts to listen to, petitions to sign and places to donate. I have also put together a list of my favourite black content creators who offer me so much inspiration on a daily basis, as well as some UK black-owned businesses you can buy from and support in the future!
If you feel unsure what to do, here is a great place to start and make a difference.
- ‘White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism’ by Robin Diangelo
- ‘Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race’ by Reni Eddo-Lodge
- ‘Queenie’ by Candice Carty-Williams
- ‘Freedom Is A Constant Struggle: Ferguson, Palestine, and the Foundations of a Movement’ by Angela Davis
- ‘It’s Not About The Burqa: Muslim Women on Faith, Feminism, Sexuality and Race’ Edited by Mariam Khan
- ‘I Am Not Your Baby Mother: What It’s Like to Be A Black British Mother’ by Candice Brathwaite
- ‘I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings’ by Maya Angelou
- ‘Me and White Supremacy: How to Recognise Your Privilege, Combat Racism and Change the World’ by Layla F Saad
- ‘When They See Us’ – a true crime docuseries – based on the Central Park jogger case. 5 teenage boys wrongfully convicted of a crime that they did not commit
- ‘Explained: The Racial Wealth Gap’ – to help understand the concept of ‘white privilege’
- ‘Greenbook’ – a film inspired by a true story. Based in the Deep South in 1962, a world-class African-American pianist goes on tour with his tough-talking bouncer from an Italian-American neighbourhood in the Bronx. Despite their differences, they develop an unexpected bond in which they fight racism and danger in an era of segregation together. This is available on Amazon Prime and is one of my favourite films.
- ‘Time: The Kalief Browder Story’ – a true crime docuseries – the story of a teenager wrongfully charged with theft and jailed at Riker’s Island prison for over 1,000 days
- ’13th’ – documentary – analysing the criminalisation of African Americans and the U.S. prison boom
- ‘Who Killed Malcom X?’ – an insight into Malcom X, his beliefs and his mysterious death
- ‘Dear White People’ – a Netflix TV series following a group of black students at an Ivy League institution – touches upon the issues surrounding modern American race relations
- Naughts and Crosses – a BBC series that imagines an alternate Britain where white people are subordinate to people of colour in a powerful commentary on racism
- About Race with Reni Eddo-Lodge
- Come Through with Rebecca Carroll
- No Country for Young Women
- The Social Matters Podcast – Episode 15. Let’s talk about Race
- Death, Sex & Money – Between Friends: Your Stories About Race and Friendship
- Black Gals Livin’
Signing petitions is one of the most useful things we can do and it will help make a change in our world. The more people, the better. Below are just a few petitions you can sign, however, if you click here it will take you to the Black Lives Matters website where there are many more petitions that you can sign and support.
- Justice for George Floyd
- Justice For Ahmuad Arbery
- Justice For Tony McDade
- Battle Racism by Updating GCSE Reading Lists
I have grouped together various links to donation platforms and although I know not everyone can donate, especially at a time like this, even if you donate something small it will make a huge difference. Also, if you are financially unable to donate, so many YouTubers are currently donating all of their ad revenue to various organisations in order to support anti racism and POC communities, and all you have to do is watch a short video.
U.S. Charities and Organisations:
- Black Lives Matter
- George Floyd Memorial Fund
- Justice for Breonna Taylor
- Ahmaud Arbery Fund
- Reclaim the Block
UK Anti-Racism Charities and Organisations:
For a list of other donation platforms click here.
I thought it would be very useful to share some inspiring black creators and brands (on Instagram) in this post, as altering our fashion and beauty standards and diversifying out feeds is another way we can all help to tackle racism.
- @josephineslooks – the most gorgeous outfits and love watching her Youtube videos, such a bubbly girl!
- @_marisamartins_ – gorgeous account with the best style inspo. So chic and sophisticated.
- @lolafaith – stunning photos and I love how she styles everything! So creative.
- @femmeblk – such elegant outfits and an absolute mirror selfie queen.
- @perpetualplaces – a gorgeous, inspiring account with dreamy travel and styling inspo. Every single photo is immaculate and so stunning!
- @stylebyaysh – minimal fashion inspo: my fave, it’s hard not to love this account!
- @basicstouch – obsessed with her fashion sense – I neeeed her whole wardrobe!
- DIXIEGRAZE: high quality gold plated pieces @dixiegraze
- PROCLAIM: an earth-friendly, inclusive brand @weareproclaim
- Wales Bonner: menswear and womenswear @walesbonner
- Daughter of a Bohemian: upcycled pieces and workshops @daughterofabohemian
- Chikas: snacks @chikasfoods
- Grazing Boxes @berryandbrie
- Daily Paper: menswear and womenswear @dailypaper
- Liha Beauty: skin oils, shea butters @lihabeauty
Read things that make you feel uncomfortable, watch things that make you feel uncomfortable and talk about things that make you feel uncomfortable. Because now is certainly not a time to feel comfortable.
I also just want to include this link to Zoe Sugg’s Instagram where she has collated various educational and inspirational Instagram posts surrounding this issue. It’s a great place to gain more of an understanding and remember to share them on your own platform to make your followers aware. I have found it extremely useful. Click here to view.
I hope this post encourages you to make a personal difference, to be kind and to never stop learning.