I feel especially humbled and grateful to be in the position whereby my partner is such a credible source of information as it pertains to the Black Lives Matter Movement. His credibility is not only based on his desire to stay informed politically, but rooted in a love for black history but in experience as well. He is a black man who was raised in St.Louis, served his country, and is fed up. A lifetime of fighting has left him weary, disheartened and traumatized. And its no wonder he’s feeling this way seeing as the words Martin Luther Kings spoke in 1965 on the ‘polite’ racism of white liberals still rings true nearly 45 years later.
It’s difficult to capture the complex web of antagonists, and truthfully I remain overwhelmed with where to start in initiating the change. I think often we can become spread to thin in our good intentions whereby those efforts can be perceived as watered down and lazy. Often as a society, social media has become a platform where social activism can be as easy as posting an Anti-Racism Meme and hash tagging. Regrettably, there is a large percentage of the population who are posting out of obligation, guilt, or likes. However I believe that Social Media has become a primary organizing tool for political and social movements globally. They serve to strengthen already existing networks of political and social relationships among activists offline. Donald Trump has used his Twitter Platform as a means to mobilize and unite hate groups and has had a devastating impact on the moral of the American people most effected by it. Alternatively, Barack Obama’s recent speech at the democratic convention rallied hope and unified those in remembering more hopeful political times.
I can only anticipate further civil unrest as the Presidential Campaign continues to ignite and provoke further hate to percolate to the surface. As the tensions mount and continued violence against people of color continues, so does the emotional triggers for the people of color who are having to relive their trauma over and over. It is not my story to tell, yet my position to listen, learn, understand and seek the ability to find patience as I navigate a new awareness and role within my relationship.As a white woman I have never had the conscious fear of my boyfriend or husband not returning home as a result of a traffic stop that resulted in him being shot.
As a white woman I have admittedly minimized his the anxiety he was feeling when walking through an upscale neighborhood during an argument. As a white woman I have often thrown him into social situations that are new whereby he is the only person of color, and felt frustrated when he became socially awkward in this environment. There are countless incidences whereby my own privilege has prevented me from being sensitive to these embedded traits of a person who has grown up experiencing racism.
I think in order for change to occur many of us have some significant work to complete starting in our own homes. I tip my hat off to the black women who are facing their own complex barriers, but also raising young strong black men and also healing the wounds of their own men. I want to know what their love looks like and what they do to help their men bravely rise each day. What does that support look like? I really struggled to find specific information around the more intimate nature of what that support looks like but did come across these great starting points. When it comes to next steps, there’s not a one size fits all solution for the personal work you should be doing.
Where Can We Start?
- Assume racism is everywhere, every day.
- Know that what’s happening right now is nothing new. https://youtu.be/OCUlE5ldPvM
- We have to learn to see the effect that racism has.
Notice who speaks, what is said, how things are done and
described. Notice who isn’t present when racist talk occurs.
Notice code words for race, and the implications of the
policies, patterns, and comments that are being expressed. You
already notice the skin color of everyone you meet—now
notice what difference it makes.
- Notice who is the center of attention and who is the center
of power. Racism works by directing violence and blame
toward people of color and consolidating power and privilege
for white people.
- Notice how racism is denied, minimized, and justified.
- Understand and learn from the history of whiteness and
racism. Notice how racism has changed over time and how it
has subverted or resisted challenges. Study the tactics that have
worked effectively against it.
- Take a stand against injustice. Take risks. It is scary,
difficult, and may bring up feelings of inadequacy, lack of self-confidence, indecision, or fear of making mistakes, but
ultimately it is the only healthy and moral human thing to do.
Intervene in situations where racism is being passed on.
- Support the leadership of people of color. Do this
consistently, but not uncritically.
- Learn something about the history of white people who
have worked for racial justice.
Going forward, I know that I want to use my platform and personal journey on this topic as a means to initiate change as well as create the opportunity for feedback and dialogue. As I continue to create more content I want to devote more time to the current devastating issues at hand.
#saytheirnames #blm #blackhistory