Even though I haven’t posted anything on social media yet to show I’m an 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 rooted racism is 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, as a white person, I will never completely understand what it feels like to not be seen for who you are, but only for the color of your skin, because I will never experience this myself. However, I know how widely spread this problem is. How can you not know when racism is literally 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.
In our society, racism is way too often ignored and seen as ‘something that just exists and there’s nothing to do about it’. Well, actually we can and must do something about it. I believe that especially white people have the duty to be educated about racism and its history and to be informed about what is happening in the world on that matter. It is absolutely necessary to be actively anti-racist and to be able to analyse one’s own behavior and prejudices one might have.
When I look at myself; when using stock photos for my blog, mostly white people were pictured. I didn’t notice at first because these photos are the ones that show up on top when searching for a picture. I am now paying attention that when I use stock pictures, they represent society as it is. I want everyone to be able to recognise themselves when I share a post, because this is a key value of what I want to represent and promote with Nikita’s World.
Furthermore, It is simply not enough to share a black box on social media while not changing how you react to racism in real life. There are no excuses to not condemn racism when we see it happen, to not be vocal about it, to be in a room full of white people and not ask yourself questions about this… Moreover, we should listen to BIPOC and create space for their opinions and voices to be heard when not enough people seem to listen. This, not only now Black Lives Matter is in the news and is trending, but for as long racism exists.
Of course, people with power can and should do more to actually change something by law. 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 presidential elections are a great starting point. And as Obama has stated: local governments have important things to say as well, 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 many in reality. These few people do not represent everyone from a certain skin color. I believe it is very important to 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.