How to be Anti-Racist; We Need to Tackle Systemic Racism in the US and the UK

Dear white people, it’s about time we take action against racism. The murder of George Floyd has awakened many to the racial injustice that permeates our lives. For hundreds of years, through slavery, colonialism, murder and theft, white supremacy has seeped its way into our systems like a disease; it oppresses black, indigenous and people of colour (BIPOC) whilst rewarding white people with privilege.

We like to demonize the US, but in the UK and England specifically, our country was built on colonialism, imperialism, and the oppression of black people whilst stealing other’s cultures and passing them off as our own. White people have been so complicit in this system of white supremacy that they are harming black people in order to continue to wield their white privilege. It’s time to wake up, educate yourself and make a change.

Black activist and writer, Rachel Cargle, made a public speech on YouTube addressing the topic of how a revolution needs to be held in order to overthrow white supremacy and achieve equality. She posed the question, “what is peace when the only people who get to rest in it are those with white skin?”. The powerful message within this statement reveals the huge amount of work that needs to be done in order to abolish the institutionalised racism that is so ingrained in our daily lives. We need to make a change that will dig up the roots of white supremacy and start afresh with a new system that is powered by equality, respect and diversity.

If you are not angry, if you are not taking action, then you are not listening

If you are not angry, if you are not taking action, then you are not listening. The protests happening in Minneapolis and across the States in response to the murder of George Floyd, highlight the anger and injustice felt by black people. They have been living in a system that has been specifically designed to oppress them. The time for peaceful protesting has passed; we need to stand up for equality, we need to listen to black people and we need to make sure their voices are amplified.

Dismantling white supremacy begins with you. You need to examine the ways in which you, as a white person, have benefitted from this system and how your white privilege has harmed black people. You need to recognise that being complicit continues to uphold this system and contributes to the pain and suffering of the black community. Black author, Layla F. Saad, wrote a workbook titled Me and White Supremacy which invites the reader to take part in a 28-day challenge examining the ways you have upheld and benefitted from white supremacy. This is an important step to take to begin to understand the ways in which you can take action and be actively anti-racist. The work doesn’t stop once you complete the 28 days; that is only the beginning to educate yourself on what you can do to help.

The work doesn’t stop once you feel better about yourself, it only stops when we are no longer living under white supremacy

Don’t use this work to make yourself feel better; use it to really make a difference. Rachel Cargle once said, “anti-racism is not self-improvement work for white people.” The work doesn’t stop once you feel better about yourself, it only stops when we are no longer living under white supremacy. In her book, Layla wrote, “white supremacy does not want equality; it wants dominance”. This further adds to the message that our outdated institutions need to be reformed completely in order to achieve real equality within society.

We need to go deeper than the performative aspects on social media

Ever since the video of Floyd’s murder went viral, there has been a wave of support for the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement across social media. Whilst this is important to wake up so many people to what has been happening for so long, we need to make sure it isn’t just a trend. We need to make sure that in a few months time, a year’s time, we are all working every day to combat systemic racism. White people can tend to be performative when showing support for the BLM movement, as a desperate attempt to prove to others that they are not racist. We need to go deeper than the performative aspects on social media, and make sure we are actively working to tackle racism. This can be done in various ways, such as signing petitions, donating to black rights organisations and educating yourself on the ways we have been complicit in white supremacy.

Linked here is a google document that is a compiled list of resources, petitions, and UK organisations to support. This isn’t a comprehensive or exhaustive list and is only a start. The work we need to do will be exhausting; we must work every day towards equality for black people. Black lives matter today, tomorrow and always.

Jasmin Lemarie

Featured image courtesy of Miki Jourdan via Flickr. Image license found hereNo changes were made to this image. 

In article video courtesy of @VJTweeting via Twitter. No changes were made to this image.

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