Black Lives Matter: How To Be An Ally
The death of George Floyd is merely the latest symptom of a disease which has ravaged America since the days of slavery and through to the era of segregation and mass incarceration. Countless people of colour have been persecuted and murdered unjustly by police around the world. It is for this reason that Black Lives Matter exists.
On May 25th 2020, George Floyd was killed in broad daylight on the streets of Minneapolis. He died after being slowly suffocated by a police officer named Derek Chauvin, who pressed his knee into his neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds. The reason for his arrest was the possession of a counterfeit $20 note. He was unarmed. He posed no threat. He was, according to longtime friend Maurice Hall who was sat in the passenger seat of Floyd's car, "Trying in his humblest form to show he was not resisting in no form or way." Despite this, Floyd was murdered in one of the most tortuous ways imaginable at the age of 46 by the very people sworn by oath to protect and serve Americans. Yet this barbaric incident is not isolated, but part of a systemic pattern of police brutality. It is a shameful fact that in 2019, there were only 27 days where the police in USA did not kill someone. These acts of violence are disproportionately carried out against African-Americans, and statistics about incarceration of black people in the USA are truly staggering. Despite having only 5% of the world's population, America holds 25% of the world's prisoners. One out of every three black males in America can expect to be incarcerated in their lifetime, and as an African American you are statistically more likely to be in prison than in higher education. These facts illustrate why Black Lives Matter protests have erupted in every state in America and have spread throughout the world in the last week.
Racism is by definition ‘prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against someone of a different race based on the belief that one's own race is superior.’ In countries with systemic racism, white people enjoy countless privileges which do not apply to their black counterparts. Racism is a plague that infects the very bones of every structure in society. Systemic racism persists in schools, offices, courts, police departments, and every other entry level into civilisation. Doors that are immediately open for white people are not always open for people of colour. They have to fight everyday to overcome discriminatory barriers built over hundreds of years of mis-treatment. For a person of colour it's not a matter of if they will get pulled over by a police car, it's a matter of when and how. For a person of colour it's not a matter of if they will be heckled or thrown abuse, it's a matter of when and how. The necessary changes will not come about through complacency. Rather, like the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s, changes have to be fought for.
The death of George Floyd is merely the latest symptom of a disease which has ravaged America since the days of slavery and through to the era of segregation and mass incarceration. Countless people of colour have been persecuted and murdered for the colour of their skin by police around the world. It is for this reason that Black Lives Matter exists.
Black Lives Matter is an international human rights movement that campaigns against violence and the systematic racism against black people. Some predominantly right-wing commenters oppose this campaign with the belief that ‘All Lives Matter’. They believe that the phrase ‘Black Lives Matter’ is not inclusive and doesn't help stop violence and deaths within communities. This is simply not the case, by supporting BLM you are supporting the black community and standing up against racism-fuelled deaths and violence. It's not to say that only black lives only matter, however as a white person you stand zero chance of being killed on the basis of your skin colour alone. A key element of the movement is that it is not enough to simply condemn racism, or consider yourself someone who is not racist. We have to be actively anti-racist if we are going to make a change, because all lives cannot matter until black lives matter too.
This is where allyship comes in. White allyship is when a white person acknowledges their societal privilege and joins black voices in taking a stand against systemic racism. White may people may never truly understand the lived experience of a black person, but they should still stand with them to help build a more just society. This means committing yourself to the work of undoing white supremacy within you and within the systems around you. It's supporting your black friends through these tough times, and actively saying no to racism in the world around you.
How Can I Be An Ally?
EDUCATE yourself and others. There is so much to learn. When someone is being racist on purpose or accidentally, educate them, tell them what is wrong, ensure that you have done all you can to prevent it from happening again. There are so many books, videos and TED talks on this topic. Do not be ignorant of the suffering of others.
SHARE, in this day and age social media is a powerful tool. Share and repost to spread news on developments, protests or petitions. Use the burden of the media to our advantage
SIGN petitions, go to websites like change.org and sign as many petitions as possible, we need the people in charge to hear our voices. We need to actively make a change.
DONATE money, any little bit would help. There are hundreds of charities supporting the Black Lives Matter movement that need your support.
PROTEST, obviously in this current climate it is very difficult to protest. However, socially distanced protests are still happening. Even if it is putting a sign up in your window, you are showing solidarity to the cause and spreading the word that we will not stop until people can live freely without fear or persecution.
Visit this website to find ways to help https://blacklivesmatters.carrd.co
No justice. No peace.