WHITE PRIVILEGE – How you can use yours the right way
by Bea Dux
White people: we need to do better.
Right now the world is facing a global pandemic, economic crisis, new outbreaks of Ebola, Anonymous is back and in the midst of it all, the brutality and murder of black and brown people. A transformative shift is upon us in the form of one of the wildest years in history and we all need to be hyper aware of which side of history we want to be on.
Nobody wants to have to discuss race but it's time we do. Black people don't want to have to educate white people on how the world views and treats them differently and white people don't want to deal with the uncomfortable truth that we benefit from systems built by the very people it works against. Before we get into it, I don't want to hear "not all white people" from anyone ever again. All white people may not be actively racist, but all white people benefit from racism. You may not feel like you are privileged because your life has been hard, but having white skin means it hasn't been harder.
There are a lot of white people with good intentions. People who mean well yet still perpetuate the marginalisation of others with the things they do or say. One of the most obvious is complimenting a black person's hair then asking to touch it (NO, you can't). Other examples include "I don't see colour", "all lives matter" or my personal favourite "but how do we know it was racially motivated?"
No rational person can defend what happened to George Floyd - and if you're attempting to, ask yourself why?
Why are you so pressed to defend a murderer?
When you assert that 'all lives matter' and speak over the struggles black people face, you are potentially acting as an abuser. Don't invalidate black people's feelings and experiences. Do your research/what has happened historically and how are they affecting events today? Do the work to be a part of the solution.
Initially, I wrote 4 pages worth of content for you to read through, but I've decided to scrap it. Part of being actively anti-racist is researching historical and present-day issues facing the black community to better your own understanding. I encourage everyone reading this to spend the rest of today doing what you can to learn and use your privilege.
WHAT YOU CAN DO FOR FREE:
Follow more black people on your socials.
Watch shows and films written by and starring black and brown people.
Watch talks and lectures on race.
Enter discussions with other white people about what they're doing to combat everyday racism.
Useful YouTube Videos:
- White People, Enough: A Look at Power and Control | Jaelyn Coates | TEDxCSU - this video is 11minutes long - you CAN spare this time.
- Jane Elliott's Brown Eye Blue Eye exercise - this is a BIG one, it's long and poor quality but it's one of the best representations of racist realisations I've ever seen. One to show your grandparents.
SPEND A LITTLE, MAKE A BIG DIFFERENCE:
Support BLACK OWNED businesses. It's easier for you to Google particular brands than it is for me to list them here. Love skincare? Google 'Black-owned skincare companies'. Or, if you fancy a browse, take a look at these directories:
Books to read:
White Fragility - Robin DiAngelo
Me and White Supremacy - Layla F Saad
On Tyranny - Timothy Snyder
Slay In Your Lane - Yomi Adegoke
Black, Listed: Black British Culture Explored - Jeffrey Boakye
Why I'm No Longer Talking To White People About Race - Reni Eddo-Lodge
Girl, Woman, Other - Bernardine Evaristo
(Where you can try to buy second hand, it's far better for the environment and if you're lucky, you might be sent a copy with additional notes written in! There are a ton of second-hand books websites - avoid Amazon)
Shows/Films on Netflix:
Dear White People
See You Yesterday
When They See Us
Although Patreon has had a notorious reputation for fucking Sex Workers over, here are some Patreon Blogs to support and learn from:
IT MIGHT COST YOU SOMETHING:
Influencers: use your voice, it might cost you a gift, or a brand deal. If it does cost you because you've spoken out about racism or racial inequality, realise that a black person wouldn't have even been in that position in the first place; THAT is reason enough to deny that brand your platform. When you're invited to an event, ask who else has been invited, specifically if any black creators are on the list - if not, suggest some and ask for another invitation once one has been extended to your black and brown peers.
Call your friends/family out when they say or do something that isn't right. Throughout your journey of active anti-racism you will experience push back from white friends and in some cases, may find yourself walking away from people - this is on them, NOT you. It isn't hard or difficult to announce that Black Lives Matter. If someone you know is having a tough time, challenge them.
Racism is not just hate, racism is subtle, and racism is systemic.
And it is everywhere, for POC it is an everyday issue. Right now, black people need your support. Black people need you to use your platform and voice to amplify theirs. Not to speak for, or over them. Share THEIR message. Lift THEM up. If you are planning on going to a protest, don't just do it for the socials. Be prepared to stand between a black person and a gun. We've seen the evidence time and time again that white folk are treated far better - use that. Use your white presence as a barrier to defend and protect the black people around you.