Kindness is a strong foundation but nothing in life stops at the foundation. It’s just what is necessary to begin building. If you’ve got a foundation of kindness, brilliant. But what happens next?⠀
Racism is an issue all over the globe but seems to be so deeply woven into the fabric of America – they’ve never existed without it. Individuals working in roles meant to protect society are being mistaken for positions of ruthless and deadly power. ⠀
Once again society has woken up to the real consequences of racism in America and the big hole that needs to be repaired beneath their foundation. Many of us (and yes, it’s an “us”) don’t even recognise the ways in which we fit into the systems of racism. Whether it’s through social media, presumption, real life experiences or being unequipped with the necessary courage or articulation to speak up against ugly and unnecessary sentiments. ⠀
We may be succeeding in being kind to others but are failing by not having the guts to take a firm stand for what is right.
Did you know that over 26 million people chose to upload a picture of a black square with the hashtag #blackouttuesday. Many of these people did not think about what they were doing but did think that by jumping on the social media bandwagon meant they were playing their part.
How is posting impacting the BIPOC (Black Indigenous People of Colour) community? It’s not.
Why are we not posting about white privilege? About what we are learning and what makes us feel uncomfortable. Growth comes from being uncomfortable. If we truly care about their lives and their colour, we should be doing more than posting a black square.
This isn’t just an American problem. Did you also know that in the last 10 years, over 400 indigenous Australians have died in custody and no charges have been laid. It just hasn’t been publicised or caught on the news.
Between 2008/09 and 2018/19, 85 percent of deaths in police custody in England and Wales were white people, who make up 86% of the UK population. In the same time period, black people accounted for eight percent of the UK deaths in police custody, while only making up three percent of the total population.
There is no shame if you did not know this – we only know what we know until we are shown something different – then it does become our responsibility to help shift the needle, speak for the voiceless and do so by amplifying what has already been said.
Don’t be silenced. Post about your experiences, educate yourself, follow people who will help you on your journey to learn more. Above all, be true to what you say. Don’t post a picture of you being socially inclusive and then refuse to stop and help someone who needs it – doesn’t matter what race or ethnicity they are. .
I admit being conditioned to see life through a particular lens. My lens. As a white female. My kindness journey and growing a global social initiative has allowed me to look through the lens of other people – including the BIPOC community and understand the trauma they have been through (although I use the term loosely because one will never understand unless you’ve walked that unfair, presumed, and indescribable journey in their shoes).
So where to from here? We need to have small conversations with friends, family and people on the street. If we see someone making racial judgements or slurs, pull them up on it. The onus of responsibility happens the moment our awareness is gained.
We are within our rights to talk about white privilege. I’ve been directed to think that doing so will cause more separation. It won’t. It will create a deeper understanding and a greater awareness around it. We are in this together. Educate. Spread that love. Do one small thing today that can help shift the needed.
Ask yourself the following questions and think about your answers.
Is it possible to be full of human kindness AND have the guts to stand up against the powerful system of oppression in the world?
Is it foolish to ignore the growing outcry of minority communities?
Is it hypocritical if we condemn without any effort to understand the perspective of others?
Is it wrong to remain silent if you have a deeper awareness of how urgent and severe a problem is? ⠀
I don’t know how to put into words the events of the last few weeks but I do know that kindness by itself will never, ever be enough.