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It is no longer enough to not be racist

People are angry. Rightly so. Social media was muted on Tuesday as many shared blacked out posts in solidarity with Black Lives Matter. I feel very uncomfortable writing about race from my white privileged viewpoint. But I feel that I can no longer stay silent.
Avoiding the problem, staying in my comfort zone, being merely non-racist instead of proactively anti-racist is no longer good enough. It is horrifying and shameful that racism still exists in 2020. The only way it will stop is for all of us to raise our voices in outrage, to educate our children and lead by example.

This week I have had difficult conversations with my children. Explaining the current events including the tragic death of George Floyd amidst the greater historical and cultural context.
Previously I had thought it was enough to be ‘colour-blind’ but this fails to celebrate the diversity of our wonderful human race and hides the issue of racism.
All lives matter, but this cannot be true until black lives matter.

‘There is no more neutrality in the world. You either have to be part of the solution, or you’re going to be part of the problem.’ Eldridge Cleaver
I am angry that our leaders are not standing up for what is right. Why are they not addressing the problem, only looking at the symptoms, the violence that has erupted from depair?
I am appalled that celebrities are making comments decrying the insidious racism inherent in our Western culture when these should be coming from our politicians. I am relieved that most people are not staying silent, that they are finally challenging the ‘neutrality’.

White people, like me, now have to join the fight for freedom from institutional racism. We can use our privilege to demand change. We can listen. We can love, educate and pledge our commitment to equality. We can make a difference.
To end this post, I will quiet my voice and use Martin Luther King’s:

A riot is the language of the unheard.

Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.

Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.

In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.


7 comments

  1. I do think we hear it more than we realise – jokes about ‘asians’ or chinese drivers, comments about crime and in Australia, a lack of comments when there’s a black death in custody. All these things, no matter how ‘small’ need to be shut down or addressed. As someone else said to me, in some jobs, there can be no bad apples. We wouldn’t be okay with a pilot that couldn’t land the plane properly. How an officer with 17 complaints about him was still working is unacceptable. #StayClassyMama

  2. Well said. It is so important for parents to educate their children on these difficult topics. I hope and pray that this is a turning point for our country!

  3. What a brilliant post. I completely agree.
    I teach RE in a secondary school and I make sure that we spend a lot of time teaching about prejudice and discrimination. We also have the police diversity team in to talk to our students about hate crime. However, there is not enough being taught in schools, a lot of primary schools do very little RE and in my school the kids only have one lesson a week as opposed to maths who have 5.
    We also teach a lot about empathy and compassion.
    ‘The only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good men and women to do nothing.’ Edmund Burke
    #StayClassyMama

  4. I totally agree and we are talking to our children, trying to educate ourselves and work on what we can do, to be better at this. I don’t “think” i am racist but what I am learning is that it’s not all over, it’s learned things and things we don’t even realize.
    Thanks for sharing. We all need to work on this!

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