There are so many things going on in the world, that sometimes it can be so overwhelming. Here are some things you can do to support BLM from your couch, without having to leave your home.
This should be hard if you’re doing it right. Evaluate your beliefs and behaviours. What do you believe you know about black people? What do you believe you know about white people? What about Asian people? What experiences or stories do you have that led you to those beliefs?
Think also about what kind of privileges you experience compared to black people. You might not think that white privilege (or white-passing, or ‘model minority’) applies to your life, but think about it a bit more. Do you feel like other people perceive you as a threat every time you step outside? Would you trust the police to look after your family? Have you ever been stopped and asked what you were doing in a shop or university?
Privilege is not the absence of hardships: everyone has hardships. It’s just that black people have to go through a lot more sh*t that white people don’t, as well as having the hardships that white people have. Unfortunately, privilege is often invisible to those who have it.
Have a tough look at your internal conversation. Think about who you trust, and why you trust them – this could be anyone from potential friends to work colleagues to “industry experts”. Are these decisions based on a quick “gut feeling” or quantitative and qualitative information?
What values do you use to judge a person? Don’t give your attention and time to those who mirror you in age, gender, race or academia. Make sure you give equitable treatment to people and respect everyone – this is basic decent human being behaviour, but one easily reverts back to unconscious biases in the hustle of life.
Be honest with yourself. Nobody else will know what you discover, but it’s important that you start doing the work with yourself to unlearn these biases.
2. Understand the Experiences of Others
This is where the most human instinct comes through: empathy. We may not truly understand what it feels like to be another person, but we can empathise. This is where art, media and books come in.
Films and video media are some of the best ways to experience life in another person’s shoes. Here are some recommendations:
- 13th (Netflix, YouTube for now)
- Black and British: A Forgotten History (BBC iPlayer)
- Windrush (BBC, available on YouTube)
- Sitting in Limbo (BBC iPlayer)
- Small Island (National Theatre YouTube)
Reading is one of the most efficient ways to gain knowledge and understanding in a subject: you literally absorb the fruits of someone’s life over the course of several 100s of pages.
Not only that, but we should start decolonising our reading lists. Bookshelves are too often full of white authors, which perpetuates the idea that being ‘white’ and living ‘white lives’ are the norm. Here are some recommendations (that don’t include Robin DiAngelo’s White Fragility – please read why I disagree with her presentation of race theory here):
- Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race, by Reni Eddo-Lodge
- Freedom is a Constant Struggle, by Angela Davis
- Girl, Woman, Other, by Bernardine Evaristo
- Brit(ish) by Afua Hirsch
- Any one of these BLM resources
Podcasts are such a great way to absorb information whilst you’re doing something that doesn’t require your brain too much, such as cooking, cleaning or driving. Here are some recommendations:
3. Sign Petitions and Send Emails
Signing petitions is one of the most effective ways to make things happen – it is democracy, it is freedom. Put your voice to good use!
You can pick one you feel strongly about, or you can do many. The choice is yours. Here is a fantastic list of petitions that are specific to the UK, but I’m sure you’ll find some more relevant ones to your area if you do some googling.
Donate to causes if you can. Here is a list of causes in the UK to which you can donate, but a quick google will be able to pull up similar causes in your area.
If you’re from the UK, I want to particularly highlight the Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust, who work with young people from disadvantaged backgrounds to enable them to succeed in their chosen careers, as well as encourage inclusivity in corporations and develop communities.
5. Don’t Stop There
If you have got to this stage, you’ve done well! But there’s much more work to do. Don’t stop educating yourself. Actively tackle racism and discrimination at your workplace. Lift and amplify BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Colour) voices. Buy from BIPOC businesses. Read BIPOC authors. Follow BIPOC influencers. Listen to BIPOC music. Keep showing up for the BIPOC communities.
There is much to do until we have a truly anti-racist society.
What sort of things are you doing following BLM? What have you learnt? Let me know in the comments below!