So, here we are in the middle of 2020 and finally the world has at least started waking up to the facts that 1) black lives do matter and 2) that there really are people and systemic practices that do not do justice to that fact.
As a black woman, this week has been a difficult one.
Of course, I am glad to see the cause against racism taken up so widely by people of all colours and ages all over the world.
That it took a video in which a Derek Chauvin knelt on the neck of George Floyd for 8 minutes and 46 seconds as Floyd pleaded with him, bystanders begged him and the policeman carried on with impunity, well… not so glad about that.
Enough has been written about why, in full knowledge that he was being filmed, Chauvin felt comfortable enough that the system would save him from repercussions as it has so many other policeman, that he carried on with his horrific actions regardless.
So much more has been written about how protests have swept the world, the rights and wrongs of how people have shown their solidarity with the cause and about the wider discussions around racism and white privilege.
I don’t want to write some lengthy op-ed re-performing every racist slight I’ve ever received for the horror-gorging anti-pleasure of my audience.
What I will say is this.
Prior to this month, I have been shut down enough times when trying to point out racial injustices, both wider and those experienced or witnessed personally that, while I am optimistic about the changes this global anger and awareness will achieve, I am also reticent to believe that all those black squares and Instagram stories will translate to the same amount of direct action in real life.
I am not demeaning the value of what people are doing – I welcome you to the fight with open arms. You’re angry, we’re all angry and that’s good.
That said, while it’s great to have allies now, it would also be great to have allies in the difficult times. I’m talking about the moments when you see or experience someone stepping way out of line but you’re busy and it is awkward and you really want to get on with your day but I’m the only voice shouting out as everyone else tries to studiously ignore the situation.
I’ve heard people say that it’s different here in London, that we don’t have the same problems they do in America and we don’t really need to engage with this discussion.
Well, we do.
That’s why, along with the regular content that I create, I will also be adding in some resources over the coming weeks (it’s just me writing and running this site, bear with me) to help you educate yourself, your friends and family.
Please step up, speak up and fight for what is right.
Together we stand.