i’ve been angry recently. my posts on social media have been full of hurt, rage, and sadness. but lacking in my part was actionable ways of changing our mindsets and our hearts. so, a change of pace, please bear with me for some context, some history, all of it brief, with articles to support in the links, and down at the end is a list of ways you can support, grow, and change to help non-white people in this constant battle for their lives.
white folks have been leading the charge in the oppression and murder of Black people and other racial groups for centuries. why are we so unwilling to admit it and stop it from continuing? and why when faced with police violence and aggression, stemming from the USA, do countries like Canada and England feel so smug in how much better they are than Americans.
I’ve seen a lot of folks talking about the USA (specifically just one case) and how they are “so glad” that their country isn’t as bad.
it is. and part of fixing the systemic racism overall is accepting that no matter how tolerant or progressive your country seems to be on the surface, it’s likely not.
Canada, for example, has seen the systematic kidnapping and murder of Indigenous women for decades, on top of the heavy anti-Indigenous sentiment held by so many parts of the country, all embedded there by imperialistic colonizers when they first set unwanted foot in this land. Black folks are also heavily targeted in Canada by the police and on average will face more profiling and police attention than any other racial group.
Black people in Canada (specifically Toronto) are 20x more likely to get shot by the police, profiled, or carded.
if you don’t live in Canada you often get this projection of amazing progressive qualities and some kind of non-racist utopia. this is…skewed.
the racial tensions and prejudices in Canada run deep and long. unsurprising for a country built on imperialism and oppression of Indigenous people.
the last residential school in Canada closed down as recently as 1996 and the trauma and suffering from them lingers still.
The UK also seems to be trying this, “at least we’re not America” schtick. which is potentially the most laughable of all. the current conservative leadership of the uk is potentially THE most openly racist government we have seen in a while. Boris Johnson has been flagrant in his Islamaphobia in his homophobia, and his racism since he first appeared in the public eye.
lest we forget that the conservative government and other right wing parties ran their Brexit campaigns off the back of pure racist motivators. a referendum that was primarily about leaving the European Union quickly became an anti-refugee, anti-Islam, racist campaign, off of the back of the Tory Party. in fact as a result of this, racism and hate crimes rose in the UK following the Leave Vote.
anti-Black police brutality is also prominent in the UK. in fact Black people in Britain experience roughly 12% of all police attention and violence despite making ups around 3.3% of the population.
add in, on top of that, historically, the British contributed to potentially the single most racist act of all time, colonizing 3/4 of the world and seeking to kill native populations if they did not assimilate.
I would wager the main reason Brits are feeling this smugness is also down to ignorance. the British education system is horrendously white-washed to a point where in all my years in school there, I vividly remember hearing non-stop across all key stages of learning, about the glory of WW1 & WW2 and the Tudors. whilst slavery, the tyranny and murderous nature of the British Empire were often relegated to soft one week units at most. if the lack of education wasn’t enough, when it was presented to us, it bordered on casual glorification of imperialism, sort of a “bringing civilization to savage lands” kind of deal.
currently, outside of the natural causes of death and suffering, the biggest enemy of Black people is the police force itself.
an institution fraught with white supremacy and racism, an institution which was originally set up as a private security force for the wealthy and elite of society. in the USA in particular, the police force was put in place to hunt down and kill runaway slaves.
has anything changed? have a few bad apples spoiled the bunch? yes. undoubtedly. like Chris Rock once said:
if there’s one career that should vet their candidates harder than any other, it should be the police. we’re at a point in this narrative where we have to look at truly rooting out the rot inside of the justice system. in the USA in 2015 over 100 unarmed Black people were murdered by the police alone.
so, your country is racist too. your police force profiles and kills Black people too? now what? what can we do? what can I do as a white person? what can we do as white folks to fight against this systemic murder, racism, and oppression?
well, here’s a handy list broken down into life areas for you:
Black Lives Matter (USA)
Black Lives Matter (Canada)
Liberty HQ (UK)
Amnesty International (Global)
It Starts With Us (Canada)
Native Women’s Association of Canada (Canada)
- Understand what White Privilige is, accept that you have it, and then use it to help non-white people.
- take part in the #DoTheWork 30 day course (it’s free) by Rachel Elizabeth Cargle.
- listen to the lived experiences of your non-white friends, family, colleagues, acquaintances, social media presences. don’t argue with them, listen and learn.
- understand that if you are not talking about the injustice here, or bringing it up in conversation, or engaging with it, you are contributing to the oppression. deal with that how you will.
- search out and sign your name to as many petitions as you can.
- if you see police engaging in violent or aggressive acts agains Black or non-white people, document it from a safe distance, make it obvious, and do not delete the footage. you have the right.
- call out racism every time you see it. it’s exhausting, because once you notice it, it’s everywhere. ALL. OF. THE. TIME. it’ll be friends, family, colleagues, bosses, partners, and more. take your time, be patient and don’t let up.
Here are some books, films, and people that I have been/am currently immersing myself in for my own education. i’ll update this list periodically.
I have nothing poetic or verbose to conclude this whole thing with. i don’t think I’m ready to conclude. but I will relent for now. please stay safe out there. love each other and keep fighting for justice. white folks, do better, use your skin and your privilege, be an ally, and educate your self and most of all listen.
To my Black and non-white friends, and to those I don’t know, I say this. I’m here, I’ll stand shoulder to shoulder with you, in person or otherwise. I’ll have your back or stand in front of you if you need it. You are heard, you are valued, and you are loved.