Friday, 7 May 2021

Freedom, liberation and justice is the least we can give the Black community | Editor's Letter: Month of Black Lives Matter awareness

I do scowl and have a few harsh truths to tell fellow white folk when they are blatantly racist, naive or point-blank stupid in front of me in regards to the humanitarian crisis which is racism. 

As a white woman in her twenties I'm aware I have never experienced racism a day in my life and I never ever will do. I can try my best to put myself in the Black communities shoes but again, I will never ever be able to do that or truly understand what they experience. 

This is called white privilege.  

You see, I say with confidence that I will never experience the horrors of racism because by definition racism is experiencing prejudice or discrimination directed at you based on your attacker's belief that their race is superior.

Now, let me break this down, at first glance you think to yourself 'okay, but doesn't this definition mean it is possible for any race to experience racism if they are being treated badly for this reason?'.

Right? Wrong. If you haven't grown up experiencing racism - or have grown up around white people being racist - this is very believable however, let's now put it into perspective to demonstrate to you why white people can not be racially attacked by definition of the word: racism. 

Remember, the most crucial element by definition of something being 'racist' is that the attacker is using the power structures that uphold and perpetuate racism in our society to belittle someone of another race as they believe they are superior - can only be done with power structures that uphold this belief, otherwise, it quite literally does not exist.

Globally there are no movements - and none on the uprise - trying to create the belief that another race is superior to white people. This means white people can not be racially attacked. Offended by choice, yes, but it's not racist.

And this is the very first example of how tragically powerful white privilege is - people are dying from racism all over the world yet there has never in history been an uprising against it. 

Really think about how terrifying that is as this month of awareness is our most important yet as it's our job, as white people and writers, to educate as many as we can on systematic racism and to turn white privilege into something that is true equality for all. 

The fact systematic racism is too big of a problem for an uprising is the scariest thing on this planet. 

You can argue with me all you want if you wish but racism is a sickness still being spread in our society, it's killed millions and it's continuing to take lives. This is not a conversation we should be avoiding, it's one we should be fighting. 

It's too deep-rooted in our society, in our Governments, everything, to be frankly honest with you.

For four hundred years racism has been a global humanitarian crisis. It's nothing new because we have the Internet nowadays and can see it every day playing out. 

In some ways, we have come along a bit from the days of white folk (trigger warning) lynching Black slaves however I would argue our police officers in the USA and other countries gunning Black people down in the streets over petty crimes isn't really that far along - or as far along as some naive folk thought or still believe.

I'll hold my hands up and admit I was one of those naive white people who knew racism was still very rife but didn't understand, or hadn't bothered to learn deeply about how deep-rooted it actually is until Black Lives Matter really blew up on social media following the murder of George Floyd in 2020. 

After that, I promise you, I did all the self-education I possibly could and will continue to educate myself and stand by the Black communities side in this fight for as long as I shall live.

Floyd, who was reportedly a father of five children, was murdered by Derek Chauvin, a white Minneapolis police officer, on May 25, 2020, and the whole world saw it happen.

A bystander, who filmed the entire murder, recorded scenes of Chauvin pressing on Floyd's neck for 9 minutes and 29 seconds as he was handcuffed face down in the street.

As seen in the witnesses video taken on their phone, there were three other officers involved, two restrained Floyd meaning it was three on one (who was harmless, unharmed and down on the ground), and a fourth prevented onlookers from intervening. 

These fellow killers are Thomas Lane, J.A. Kueng and Tou Thao. After much protesting and campaigns from Floyd's family and the world, the trio was charged months after Chauvin with aiding and abetting murder and aiding and abetting manslaughter. Annoyingly they are all free on a $750,000 bail as they await their trial to start on August 23.

Horrifically in the video Floyd, who was only 46-years-old, can be heard crying for his mum and pleading with the officers to let him go as he was struggling to breathe. He was not fighting or harming any of the officers for the entire 9 minutes and 29 seconds.

The last two minutes recorded showed the officers continuing to restrain and choke Floyd as he lay on the floor motionless. Cold-blooded murder is what it was. And for the first time, the entire barbaric crime was caught on camera for the whole world to see.

It led to protests across the globe and social media being crowded with campaigns, petitions and education on racism in a bid to educate the many now that we have such a fantastic tool which is the Internet. And it did work, everyone involved in those few months did change some minds. You did make a difference. 

However, it's now a year later and the conversation appears to die out more by the day and here at VavaViolet Magazine as the Founder I paid particular attention to how publications and the media were covering the movement which is Black Lives Matter.

Want to read more on this topic from us? Why not check out:

- To my Black friends, the Black community and George Floyd, I’m sorry - Editor's Letter

- Edward Colston was a slave trader and a killer and his statue deserved to get f*cked up | Opinion

Journalists were relying on Black people to step up and lead the conversation and this seemed wrong to me as it meant they were then up for trolling and the honestly vile threats you receive when speaking so loudly on racism - especially if you are Black.

Hence why I personally believe it is us - white people - who should be making the most noise to fight racism. I believe we should protect the Black community with all we've got and till our dying breath. 

We should be giving Black people a voice, of course, but don't just give them a voice to talk about racism they're not here on this Earth with the purpose of educating us on racism, they're here to live and be free of it so hire them in areas they will thrive. 

Do not use Black people as a voice to fight racism, please! They deserve better than that.

In the months and ever since Floyd's murder, all of the Black people I have been listening to were informing me, or their platforms, of how tired they are of having to fight a system they didn't even create, are a victim of or feeling like they're being used to 'tick a box'. 

They want white people to learn for themselves. They are understandably sick of talking about it and fighting it.

If you think educating yourself on racism is draining, imagine living it. 

As I was educating myself it came to my personal attention that the best thing I, and my team here, can do is dedicate our publication and time to educating our predominately white audience on how they can do better and where to start.

So we are doing exactly that in May in honour and remembrance of George Floyd as the 25th marks a year since he was killed by Derek Chauvin and it just doesn't sit right with me for us not to address it and continue the conversation when we preached it so heavily last year and still do.

What can you expect from us this month and when? Let's get to it!

Tomorrow (Saturday, May 8) our columnist and Life Coach Jadie White is talking all things boundaries.

On Sunday, May 9, we have a timeline of the Black Lives Matter movement, check back on Sunday 16 for tips on how to talk to your parents about BLM, Saturday 22 we will be discussing a number of examples that prove white privilege is very much real and rife and lots more!

Together we can fight racism, apart it wreaks fatal havoc.

Written by VavaViolet's Founder and Editor-in-Chief, Sophie Blackman


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