In the wake of the George Floyd tragedy I found myself unable to formulate words for any social media posts that felt appropriate. I felt angry, powerless, depressed and guilty, as a white person, but in the same breath determined to make things better and adamant to prove that I am totally anti-racist. Silence can be mistaken for compliance in these times. I also did not want to make it about me, because it wasn’t and still isn’t about me. It’s about black lives not mattering, when they should be. I mean, how can they not? How can human life be a subject ‘up for debate.’ I settled on an image with a quote by Obama; “We can and we must do better.” This summed it up for me, with no complexities in between. It is this simple.
As always I have to point out that this is not a news-based post, this is simply me openly sharing my commitment to do better. I have two story highlights on my Instagram where you can find information, resources and links to black-owned businesses and creators where I hope to generate as much support for the BLM movement as possible, and encourage those who follow me to do the same. I will be extending my research and support to the blog here too.
So I’ve set about educating myself. Although I am half Italian, half Greek and felt very much different from the other kids at school, this does not mean I have the first clue about black history and the importance and weight of this fight. As a daughter from a family of immigrants who have struggled, I can relate to a sense of feeling and looking different to others while also being very much attached to my motherland cultures, but that’s where the similarities end. I can’t relate to any other black struggle, and I’m learning that there are many. Without me realising, the whiteness of my skin has carried me safely through many aspects of life.
I fiercely believe that anyone can support BLM, however they see fit, whether it is visible online or not. Often the work that is done to un-do systemic racism is more effective offline, speaking to family members, protesting etc. It is not my place to judge anyone else’s means of education, learning and support, as long as it is in fact impactful and helpful to the cause at hand. One of the evenings after Floyd’s death, I had a moment of epiphany as I lay in bed feeling helpless about this white privilege I had never been aware of. I decided that in the name of justice, I could no longer allow myself to be afraid to say or post the wrong thing, or show my lack of knowledge. My days of being silently anti-racist were over, I now wanted to show up, whole-heartedly and boldly as an anti-racist. With that said, I have decided to be very open about my ignorance surrounding this topic. While I’m sure I may be more socially and culturally aware than others, it runs true that we are all deeply deprived when it comes to being informed about black history and black struggle. It was time to show up. I want to be totally transparent with my learning. I’m seeing that it’s better to show up imperfectly than not at all, so let’s.
Although we may feel powerless to prevent senseless acts of injustice in countries that our not our own, we must look deeper than that, because there is a lot we can do. It is absolutely true that racism and prejudice seeps deep through all veins of society, in all countries so to believe that this is either ‘a black problem’ or ‘an American problem’ is the height of ignorance, it’s time to take accountability. I’m currently reading Reni Eddo-Lodge’s Why I’m No Longer Talking To White People About Race and it is truly an education. Systemic racism has and still is a huge social issue here in the U.K. and I’m aware that this book is the first of many shocking insights I’ll be getting into black societal hardship. This is just the start of my education. I feel appalled that I’ve learnt more about black history and injustice in the past two weeks, as a 24-year-old, than in all my years at prestigious private schools and a state college. Education is the key here.
Education is also just the start. I will continue to educate myself and share my learnings openly and honestly. I will continue to research, discover and support black-owned brands, with a focus on cruelty-free beauty. I will continue to listen, learn and put huge value into the stories and voices of the global black community. I will continue to amplify black voices and the black experience far beyond the point where it is no longer a news story or Instagram ‘trend.’ To me, Black Lives Matter, along with my love and support for my black friends and black communities, is a long-standing commitment to equality and change. It is a commitment that must be kept.
A commitment to be made by us all.
I will link my Insta here, if you are interested in my BLM and black-owned business highlight reels. The link to purchase Why I’m No Longer Talking To White People About Race is here, with many, many other important books also available. There is also a post which links all the things we can do for BLM here in the U.K, with the the USA equivalent also provided. I will pop both here below:
While these lists are helpful they are not exhaustive. There is always more that can be done, from donations, to petitions, to supporting black-owned business and education on a personal level. I’d encourage you to do some research of your own, whether you are U.K. or USA based or not, racism is the global pandemic, we have the cure.
We can and must do better.