Even though I haven't posted anything on social media to show I'm a so-called ally of the Black Lives Matter Movement, it does not mean I don't care about what is happening right now. On the contrary, I didn't think it was right to share things like 'RIP George Floyd' (because how can you rest in peace in such circumstances?) and to post a black box on 'Blackout Tuesday' (because all these boxes made it difficult to find the important posts with news and information on everything going on). Therefore, I decided to write this blogpost and show my support my own way: through writing. So here I am to tell you where I stand: I support everyone whose treatment in society is based on the color of their skin.
The murder of George Floyd by police officers has once again shown how deeply racism is rooted in American society and in societies all around the world. So many innocent people of color have lost their lives because of outrageous police violence and many more fear for their lives while doing the most mundane things. In not one way is this justified or explicable and there is absolutely no possible denying that this is a major problem in our society. I feel like the murder of George Floyd was the straw that broke the camel's back. Change is absolutely necessary. It is not enough to be not racist, it is important to be actively anti-racist.
I get that I, as a white person, will never completely understand how it feels to not be seen for who you are, but only for the color of your skin, because I have never experienced this myself. However, I know how widely spread this problem is. How can you not know when racism is litteraly everywhere, even in the littlest corners of society? Just watch the news, documentaries, talk shows, advertisements, TV series, movies etcetera. There is always something that shows that the color of your skin sadly still matters in our current society. Knowing this, I don't get why various people on social media are now saying they will 'start educating themselves' on this matter. I mean, how can you as an adult not be informed about racism when so many injust things happen? How is it possible that so many people just ignore news that has to do with racism for an entire life? I believe many people are now saying this online because they believe this is what is expected from them to say. While I believe these people have the best intentions, I wonder how genuine all of this is. That's one of the reasons why I decided not to post a standardized thing on social media myself. From the way I see it, the best and most useful thing I and other white people can do, is to make sure we're anti-racist, to condemn racism when we see it and to be vocal about it, to listen to people of color and to create space for their opinions and voices to be heard when not enough people seem to listen, not only now but for as long racism exists.
Of course, people with power can and should do more. Artists who have a certain power because of a huge platform - and any other person with a large platform - should use this to raise awareness, something that a lot of them are doing already. But of course, the most important factor to achieve real change is who has power in governments. Luckily this is something that we can decide as a society; by voting. As Barack Obama said in a social media post, protests are good and necessary (as long as they are peaceful) to raise awareness, but after these have ended, action needs to be taken on a political level. So I believe the upcoming elections are a great starting point. I know the candidates running for president aren't exactly the most diverse people, but as Obama has stated: local governments have important things to say too, so it's important to vote in those elections too. And not only is voting informed important in the U.S., but it is essential everywhere in the world. Together we can make sure racist people and parties never have power again.
It is terrible and embarrassing that the current president doesn't condemn the violence used against people of color. Instead, he wrongly puts the focus on the violent protests, of which there are not that much in reality. In every situation, there are always some people who take advantage of it, whatever 'race' we're talking about. I put 'race' between quotation marks because I don't think it's correct to even talk about 'race' when you're talking about humans. I believe population groups is a better term. So in every population group there are some bad people and therefore we should never generalize, in no possible context. Moreover, the 'us vs. them' nonsense should stop too. It's not white people against people of color. If we're talking about 'us vs. them', it should be 'us' as the non-racist against 'them' as the racist. And let's hope that the latter group keeps getting smaller in the near future so that everyone gets the same opportunities and rights, no matter the color of a skin.
But for now, know that I am an ally. So let's all work together and support each other to build a better future in a better world.