Posted in Life

Black Lives Matter – What I Have Learnt and How To Help

This post contains links to other sites and social media posts, none are affiliate and I haven’t been asked to share these, it’s just what I have personally found helpful. Any links to resources have not been created by me unless stated otherwise.

I always intended to eventually use my blog to discuss important topics, as well as travel and lifestyle. The name “Watt The Blog” is a play on words with my name and “what the fuck” – the idea being to discuss my weekly WTF moments – I think we can agree that the world is one big WTF right now. However, I’ve found myself waiting for “the right time”, until I develop my writing skills and to have a bigger following, but… why wait?

Last week, I, along with many other White people, had to face up to the fact that we have an undeniable privilege that we haven’t been putting to good use.

Racism doesn’t just come in the form that first comes to mind, which is why a lot of us defensively state we are simply not racist. Unfortunately, it’s not that simple: the fact is that racism is a spectrum and right now, society is inherently racist against Black people. This means that, without always meaning to be, we have all been guilty of a form of racism and I won’t believe you if you try to argue otherwise. Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure that if you’re reading this, you’re certainly not outwardly and overtly racist, but I’m also sure that you’re in the same boat as me in realising that things are complicated and we need to do much, much better. So, what next? Here is what I’ve learnt so far about how we need to step up.

Apologise and be willing to accept our White privilege

Without making this about me, (another thing many of us are guilty of doing, albeit without necessarily meaning to) here are my apologies:

I am so sorry that I had not recognised my privilege up until now. I have now realised what it is to have White privilege and accept the responsibility that comes with it.

I am sorry for ever thinking that I understand, when I could never understand what it means to face racism on a daily basis. The most (or least) I can do is stand in unity.

I am sorry for not understanding what Black Lives Matter meant up until now, and for previously taking the “don’t all lives matter?” stance. If you’re still not sure on this, the point is that all lives DO matter, but right now Black lives are being taken and treated as though they DON’T matter. All lives can’t actually matter until Black lives do too.

I am sorry for not being actively anti-racist and for thinking that simply being “not racist” was enough.

Stop trying to be a perfect ally

Many have said they didn’t want to write a post until they knew how to properly address the subject and that it can feel like you can’t do right for wrong at the moment. However, it’s better to speak up and get it wrong, than to say nothing at all. We will need to accept that we may get called out, if we approach something from the wrong angle perhaps, but then if we do, to listen and learn and adjust our thinking.

This is a learning curve for many of us but at the end of the day, it’s a problem that needs to be fixed, which simply cannot be done by Black people alone. As James Corden said recently – “how can the Black community dismantle a problem that they didn’t create?”

Listen and learn

I highly recommend that you check out this link for the BLM card – these are more related to America but still relevant. If you’re from the UK like me then this article is also really helpful. If you have found any other useful links, please do share in the comments!

The learning curve is continuous. It’s vital to keep reading, watching, listening and learning until long after the protests have died down. This isn’t just a one time thing, or a social media trend. Although social media has been brilliant recently for sharing knowledge and I honestly feel that I’ve learnt more in the past week or so, than I ever did in school.

A few people also started sharing their favourite Black content creators and I can honestly say that I have found some new firm favourites that I can’t believe I wasn’t following before. It wasn’t until it was pointed out that I realised I didn’t follow many Black creators and so therefore my feeds and the information I was receiving wasn’t very diverse. In turn, the voices and opinions I had been sharing were of fellow White people. Although, something else I noticed too, was that I had actually been following some of these accounts already but they had then been drowned out by all the White content I was following. Diversify your feed and you won’t regret it – listen to what Black creators have to say, learn and share too. I particularly appreciated that Kelsey in London shared her favourite creators with under 10,000 followers, which means they don’t have a swipe up link, so it’s harder for them to share information.

While you’re at it, there’s also lots of wonderful black owned businesses too!

Donate and sign petitions

There are lots of places you can donate to, and lots of worthwhile petitions. This is a list of just some petitions, as well as a few zip codes you can use if needed. Once you’ve signed and/or donated, share the links too and keep the momentum going, I cannot reiterate this enough. Something to note though, don’t donate directly to the Change website when signing their petitions, as the funds will go to their promotion, rather than to an actual charity or funding page that needs your help more.

If you’re tight on money right now (many of us are and that’s ok) there are lots of videos on YouTube that you can watch, and then all the revenue will be donated – there is a whole Twitter thread of videos. This is another video too.

Also something good to know is that if you purchased the Caroline Hirons x Pixi Beauty double cleanser at any point this year, or are due to purchase in 2020, 100% of Caroline’s proceeds will be going to Black Lives Matter, AND Pixi are now matching the donation.

Use your platform to support

You’ve seen the word “share” countless times in this post I know, but seriously share any resources you have found helpful. Share links to petitions and donation pages, share the books your reading, the shows you’re watching, most importantly share the voices of your favourite Black content creators/authors/actors and of your Black friends. It really doesn’t matter how many followers you have, just speak up and support those that need it.

Continue to advocate change OFFLINE

The work online is only a small part of what we need to do. The harder part comes offline in the difficult conversations with friends and family who may have not seen, or noticed, what you’re sharing online.

Something I hadn’t even considered this week on my sharing sprees, was that social media is an echo chamber. The people you follow, and those who follow you, already agree with you. It’s your racist uncle (for example) who needs talking to, it’s the favourite brands that you buy from that need looking in to. When was the last time you considered how diverse a company was before buying from them? I know I sure as hell have buried my head in the sand up until now.

How about where you work… Have you ever questioned racism in your workplace? In my industry we’re lucky enough to be extremely racially diverse but many, many places are not. Advocate changes in every part of your life, not just online.

Continue to work and recognise how to do better

I’m under no illusions and know that I have a lot more work to do, as well as a lot more to learn but right now I believe that what’s most important is to think about how to move forward. What will you do now? Will you simply move on and go back to the way things were, or will you continue to actively be anti racist for the rest of your life?

Something that struck a chord with me this week was that Black people continue to live like this and fight for their rights every single day, for their whole lives, there are no days off. Black people, and those of other ethnic minorities, do not get to take a break from talking or thinking about racism. So if we’re stepping up as White people, we need to make the commitment to stand along side them, for the rest of our lives.

Thank you for reading – I hope this can help at least one other person!

Some other helpful links

5 things to do right now in the UK

How to ally

How to respond to common racist statements

Anti-racism terms to learn

How to be an active listener

7 ways White people invalidate Black people’s feelings

9 things that wouldn’t exist without Black women

Examples of microagressions

Racism in the UK

Racism in the UK (2)

6 thoughts on “Black Lives Matter – What I Have Learnt and How To Help

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