As you all know, there have been a lot of things happening around the world regarding the Black Lives Matter Movement and everything related to racism, white privilege, etc. Yesterday I talked with one of my friends about this particular subject, and that person told me that what is happening now is not a big of deal. This person also told me that white privilege is not an actual matter and that people of colour don’t get killed, but people get killed in general. I have to admit, I got a bit mad and angry because she wasn’t having all the pieces of information, and this is why I decided to write this blog post. Here is a list will all of the topics I will talk about:
- What is BLACK LIVES MATTER all about and how did it start?
- Why is it called BLACK LIVES MATTER and not ALL LIVES MATTER?
- Who were all the people who died?
- What is white privilege and how does it impact people around the world?
- My overall opinion
- What can you do as a person to make change?
- Book recomandations about racism that can help you understand the situation better
What is BLACK LIVES MATTER all about and how did it start?
Black Lives Matter (BML), is an international human rights movement which originated throughout the Afro-American community after many years of social injustice. It is a movement against any manifestation of racism towards black people.
It all started in 2013 on social media after an Afro-American teenager named Trayvon Martin was killed by a white police officer. In the end, this man was cleared of his murder. Alicia Garza, an American activist, wrote on Twitter about this event and the Black Lives Matter hashtag was born. Since then, the movement gains more and more support as more incidents get revealed, and more protests take place.
In 2014 several protests were held after two unfair deaths of black people occured (Michael Brown and Eric Garner), and in 2020 the movement returned and gained international attention after the death of George Floyd by yet another police officer.
Why is it called BLACK LIVES MATTER and not ALL LIVES MATTER?
First off, why is the gender equality movement called Feminism and not Gender Equality? Which gender is more likely to be deprived of economic freedom, political freedom, etc.? If you ask me, those people are females and any other different categories of gender, rather than men. The movement took the name of the less privileged part to make it stand out. We are trying to make females equal to men, and by using the term feminism, we emphasize that.
It goes the same with black people.
At the moment, statistics show that people of colour are more likely to experience police violence rather than white people. Between people of colour and white people, the coloured ones are most likely to go to prison for the same crime. On top of everything else, those people are constantly experiencing microaggressions, intentional and sometimes not, verbal or nonverbal. Those little things can change the way a coloured somebody sees or acts in the world, and most of the times they lead to traumas. I found this older tweet from @JITEAGEGE that explains this concept in an easy-to-understand matter.
Who were all the people who died?
I won’t write anything specific in this section, but I will use a picture I found on Bookiedote’s blog because it will take me ages to write something about everybody who got hurt or killed. Please note that those people are not the only ones.
What is white privilege and how does it impact people around the world?
Before starting, I think it is quite important to state that having white privilege and acknowledging its existence DOES NOT make you racist. The fact that you were born white doesn’t automatically make you racist. White privilege is a concept that exists only because of enduring racism and prejudices throughout history. Therefore, to understand white privilege, you have to understand racism and its causes.
The Oxford Dictionary clearly explains the term racism: “Prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against a person or people on the basis of their membership of a particular racial or ethnic group, typically one that is a minority or marginalized.” Another important term is systematical racism, and this happens when biases and judgments are executed by groups with power, such as governments, powerful institutions, and even schools. Bias is another kettle of wish. It is a tendency to lean in a certain direction, either in favor of or against a particular thing. To be truly biased means to lack a neutral viewpoint on a particular topic. Somewhere along the line, bias took on a negative connotation. We tend to think it’s a bad thing but that’s not always true. Let me give you some examples , so you can understand better:
- If someone has a bias about people of colour, they can take two different approaches. If they’re biased toward black people, they might hire only people of colour because they feel they make better employees for some reason. Conversely, if they’re biased against black people, they might hire a white somebody over a more-qualified black candidate.
- If you have a bias against people of colour, you will tend to avoid them. Example: A person crosses the street to avoid walking next to a group of young black men. On the other hand, if you have a bias toward people of colour you will tend to prioritize them over other ethnic groups.
Now, let’s talk about white privilege. I do think this term is one of the most misunderstood ones among all of the concepts I talked about. White people tend to think that this term does not apply to them because of two main reasons: 1. some people are not used to be defined by their race/ colour, and 2. the people who live in rural sights and poor people do not think that the term privileged suits them. They tend to think that by using the word privilege, it suggests that they haven’t experienced hardship, which is not true.
White privilege is not a suggestion that white people never struggled. White privilege is not an assumption that everything that a white somebody had accomplished is unearned. White privilege should be seen as a built-in advantage that many white people experience, without being related to their way of living and their income.
To sum up, white people experience struggle but not because they are white. Black people, on the other hand, experience stuggle because they are black.
Photos taken by Alex Stempleswki
My overall opinion
I do believe, and I support this movement in any way possible. I was talking to this particular friend yesterday, and this person told me that white privilege doesn’t exist and that we make it exist, which is true from one point of view. I do agree with her that we gave and we created a definition for this term, but at the same time, we should not deny its existence.
People are getting killed and people suffer because they are an abbreviation form the ‘normal’. I am aware that we can’t change things overnight, and I am aware that a simple post on this blog won’t change much, but I am here to help. Our parents and older people, they were raised to fear people of colour, but we can educate ourselves, and we can show them that difference is not something we have to be afraid of. We should start teaching our kids that different skin colours don’t make us different. Skin colour shouldn’t be a barrier.
What can you do as a person to make change?
- Even if you don’t want to admit it, there are people out there who are using Black Lives Matter as a way to grow up their fame on social media. The first thing that you can do to support this cause is by not trusting everything you see on the internet. The internet can be a 2-edged blade. It is good and it helps you expand your knowledge but at the same time, if you don’t know how to search and how to find trusted sources, you can only harm the community.
- Use your privilege. If you encounter somebody of colour having trouble with the police for no reason, step up. Your privilege can save somebody’s life.
- Educate yourself! Learn what this situation is all about and find ways to help without being violent.
- Donate and support the organisations you have trust in.
Here is a link to a Google Doc file with any resources you might need: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1-0KC83vYfVQ-2freQveH43PWxuab2uWDEGolzrNoIks/mobilebasic#h.28ybn38q6jee
Book recommendations about racism that can help you understand the situation better
And now, just so I can tie this post to my usual content, I will give you some book recommendations about racism, white privilege, etc.
First off, I’d like to tell you about The Invincible Summer of Juniper Jones by Daven McQueen. I received an ARC edition of this book, and I feel like it suits the situation well. It is a young-adult, heartbreaking novel about racism and bullying that is appropriate for kids to read. I also recommend I for adults. I will post a more detailed review on June the 17th, so keep an eye on.
The next book on the list is The Hate U Give (The Hate U Give #1) by Angie Thomas. This is one of the longer books I have to present to you, but trust me when I say it, it is worth the struggle. I read it a year ago, but I want to re-read it in the upcoming months. I haven’t written a review for it, but you can find a pretty good one written by The Dacian She-Wolf.
Last but not least, Tell Me Who You Are: Sharing Our Stories of Race, Culture, & Identity by Winona Guo and Priya Vulchi. This novel is a collection of statements and truths from people living across America, and I think it should become a must-read. It is a bit more on the pricy side, but It deserves its money.
- https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2016/08/black-lives-matter-movement-explained/ – The Black Lives Matter movement explained, written by Alem Tedeneke, 11 August 2016.
- https://blacklivesmatter.com/about/ – About
- https://bookidote.com/2020/06/06/black-lives-matter-what-i-can-do-as-individual/ – BLACK LIVES MATTER : WHAT I CAN DO AS INDIVIDUAL, written by Trang, 6 June 2020
- https://www.bbc.com/news/newsbeat-52892949 – George Floyd protests: What do ‘white privilege’ and ‘ally’ mean?, 6 June 2020
- https://www.tolerance.org/magazine/fall-2018/what-is-white-privilege-really – What Is White Privilege, Really?, written by Cory Collins, 2018
- https://www.cpt.org/files/Undoing%20Racism%20-%20Understanding%20White%20Privilege%20-%20Kendall.pdf – Understanding White Privilege, written by Francis E. Kendall, Ph.D., 2002
- https://examples.yourdictionary.com/examples-of-bias.html – Examples of Bias
- https://www.spsp.org/news-center/blog/valla-rivolta-biases#gsc.tab=0 -STEREOTYPICAL BIASES IN BLACK PEOPLE TOWARD BLACK PEOPLE, by Luca Guido Valla and Davide Rivolta, 28 May 2019
- https://www.teenvogue.com/story/support-the-black-lives-matter-movement – 11 Things You Can Do To Help Black Lives Matter End Police Violence, written by LINCOLN ANTHONY BLADES, 28 May 2020.
- https://www.thegoodtrade.com/features/supporting-black-lives-matter – Actions You Can Take Today To Support The Black Lives Matter Movement
I know that not everybody shares the same opinions as I do, and that is fine, I respect that. The only thing I am asking for it to inform yourself before saying anything. Do your research, form your own opinion, and then share it with the world.