Saturday, 30 May 2020

#BLACKLIVESMATTER


#BLACKLIVESMATTER
Ever since I saw the video of George Floyd being murdered by a police officer in Minneapolis, like so many of you, I have been filled with anger, upset and fury.
I have been glued to twitter and the CNN news channel, following the story and the protests and I felt a huge feeling of helplessness for a while - I thought about what can I, as a British Indian Female, do to support the movement and fight for change? And whilst I acknowledge one blog post and a couple of tweets may not be able to change the racial stereotypes or institutional racism that so clearly exists across the world - We all have the shared power of our voices, which is why right now I believe we should all be using this power to stand behind the Black Lives Matter movement and spreading its awareness into all communities.

Interestingly, I had a conversation with a friend of mine who stated she was confused by the Black Lives Matter movement. Not because she disagrees with it, but because she wanted to know more. Her questions were around what it meant? Does black lives matter mean that her life didn’t matter because she isn’t black? She expressed how she has also faced racism, so what about her struggles? Why isn’t there all of this when a brown person is treated unfairly? Does black lives matter mean black lives matter more than anyone else’s? Surely everyone’s life matters?
Black lives matter can be easily understood by understanding yes, all lives matter. Of course they do and this movement has never and is in no way saying they don't, but right now we have to scream black lives matter because repeated actions have shown that the lives of black people aren’t mattering ENOUGH to some people, especially to those in power.
With the high disproportionate number of black people being killed, black lives are being disregarding as less valuable over again and again - and it's time to put this to an end. Black lives matter, not more than yours, not instead of mine but we have to shout Black Lives Matter to remind people that they matter TOO and just as much as everyone else’s. We cannot stand quiet in the face of injustice, just because we also face injustices. Injustice for one of us is injustice towards ALL of us and this movement should unite us all.
Many people may not want to acknowledge “White Privilege” or any kind of race-based privileges or may simply believe they don’t exist; and I get it, it’s easy for people to not take account of or notice the small privileges they face within their everyday lives, especially when we all face different forms of inequality on a daily basis.
Sometimes within the midst of our struggles it’s difficult to notice we actually are treated more favourably than others in some situations. For example, coming from an Indian background I surely would have faced more favourable stereotypes within the education system than my black counterparts? I would also consider whether these positive stereotypes of the "Indian Student" had a knock on effect on my success within the education system. This doesn’t make the stereotypes or my privileges my fault, it doesn’t mean I am to blame for them but I for sure should recognise this and acknowledge my privilege in certain situations and in doing this I should be fighting for the people who are disadvantaged. The struggles of People of Colour and Black People are not the same. 
The key to understanding your own privileges is speaking to people about their experiences within the same situations and I guarantee you you’ll be surprised by what you hear.
Never in my life have I been worried about being arrested unfairly, unlike some of my black friends.
Never in my life have I ever been worried if the colour of my skin would stop me getting a job, compared to my black friends.
Never in my life have I ever been worried about being viewed as a threat, unlike some of my black friends and never in my life did I even realise people faced discrimination in areas that I just take for granted .... until I opened up the conversation.
Start the conversation about understanding and changing these stereotypes and fighting for equally positive experiences for everybody. Equal experiences across all races will never make your experiences any less positive.
Nobody should ever be treated differently or unfairly based on the colour of their skin. 
A further thought was in regard to how easily racial stereotypes have been embedded into social constructs and why in the Asian Community there are so many underlying generational, racial stereotypes towards Black people that have been passed down through the community. Whether that’s through the uproar caused by black dating preferences within our generation or simply being told to fear or be careful around Black people as they are supposedly more “threatening” or “aggressive” – they all continue the cycle of passing on these ideas through from grandparents to grandchildren and assist and aid the racial injustices faced by many Black people across the world. Without actively challenging and stopping the transmission of these stereotypes, we are contributing to the problem. 
We cannot be ignorant to the part we may play in the oppression of others, we cannot give people a pass for making racially charged insults - we cannot stay silent and we have to stand behind the Black Lives Matter movement, not just at this moment of protests but within our daily lives.
We all have a part to play in recognising and eradicating any forms of injustice. 
Please don’t be silent, please use your voice, please use your platform and spread the message that BLACK LIVES MATTER. 
With all this being said I also acknowledge that my take on the Black Lives Matter doesn’t even scratch the surface of some of the real lived experiences of black people across the world and the real key to understanding this movement, what it stands for and why we should all support it comes from speaking to your black friends, peers and colleagues about what this truly means to them. 
Start the conversation – as people of the world let’s unite to never allow this to happen again.




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5 comments

  1. Thank you for this post and for so eloquently explaining the role the Asian community has to play within this movement. I have shared this across my network and thank you for this piece.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you for your comment Heena and for sharing my post ��

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  2. I saw this come up on twitter and am so glad I clicked through to read the whole thing.
    Beautifully written.

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