What can we do as individuals to combat racism?
BLACK LIVES MATTER | WORDS BY KARL JOHNSON
While a 24 hour social media blackout within the music industry was helpful to highlight the #BlackLivesMatter movement on the whole, it’s how we as individuals follow this in our daily lives that will decide it’s real impact.
Within the music industry itself artists have been speaking out with sound advice. Detroit artist Lizzo made a statement in an interview with the The Independent which fills in the gap of the next step we should all be taking, “Black people, this is your daily reminder that it is not your job to educate people on racism and white privilege. White people, this is your daily reminder that as long as you stay silent, you are part of the problem. I know you’re not racist but you have to be more than that, you have to be anti-racist. Speak up.”
— the story —
The death of George Floyd on May 25th 2020 in Minneapolis, USA sparked worldwide outrage as yet another black person died at the hands of the police. This is not only a story of the horrific death of George Floyd, but brings home the cold hard truth of the institutionalised racism within our societies worldwide. 2016 documentary ’13TH’ (currently on Netflix) goes a long way to educate on the history of suppression through law and government of black people in the USA.
The harrowing footage of George Floyd’s murder, filmed at the side of the road by concerned onlookers, shows white police officer Derek Chauvin kneeling on Floyd’s neck for nine minutes while he was handcuffed and pinned to the ground. This killed him.
Closer to home, we remember the 1993 murder of Stephen Laurence, a black British teenager from South East London who was killed in a racially motivated attack whilst waiting for a bus. His killers were not prosecuted until 2012 after a public inquiry led by Sir William Macpherson (a serving High Court judge in the late 90s), examined the original Police and Crown Prosecution Service investigation and concluded that the force was institutionally racist, after suggestions that the handling of the case was affected by issues of race. The constant campaigning over the years resulted in the double jeopardy rule being repealed in murder cases, which then resulted in the prosecution of Laurence’s killers 19 years later.
These very streets in London where the murder occurred, now, in 2020, provide a home for some of our favourite grassroots venues which we frequently inhabit. This is not just an American problem, institutional racism exists on our very doorstep and in many more subtle ways that the above mentioned.
— the movement —
#BlackLivesMatter was founded in 2013 as a response to the acquittal of Trayvon Martin’s murderer in Florida, USA. The Black Lives Matter Foundation’s objective is to wipe out white supremacy and build local power to intervene in violence carried out on Black communities by the state and vigilantes.
A major point of discussion has been between the terms ‘not racist’ and ‘anti-racist’, the latter actively seeking to address racism in society and to educate those around us (see Lizzo’s message above). Also, that of understanding the term white privilege. A passage I read (by @minarabih) this week made me think about it everyday terms.
“Think about your privilege,
When you can laugh about lighting that zoot in an officers face at carnival, Think about your privilege,
When you go on a run,
Think about privilege,
When you wear your hood up at night to stay warm,
Think about your privilege,
When you say you don’t “see race”,
Think about your privilege.”
— the resources —
Through educating ourselves, donating to charity and bringing about visibility we can make real change to our immediate surroundings.
Petitions, donation options, resources and online tool kits can be found via the official Black Lives Matter website.
George Floyd Memorial Fund
Black Protest Legal Support UK
Black Minds Matter UK
Black LGBTQIA Therapy Fund
Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust
We should all be for a world where Black lives are no longer systematically targeted for demise.