A couple of weeks ago we compiled a list of resources that you could use to assist the Black Lives Matter movement, even if you’re unable to aid financially. Since then, we’ve come across more fantastic videos and posts to explain some key points you need to understand if, like us, you’re trying to educate yourself and become better allies.
Emmanuel Acho’s ‘Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man’ series
Why are people rioting?
We have seen people – the media, the public – criticise Black people for rioting during the protests over the last few months. First of all, many protests have been peaceful until police arrived at the scene. Secondly, Emmanuel explains it like this – Black people have been quietly and peacefully protesting their oppression for years. It hasn’t changed a thing. “We’re seeing rioting because Black people, and hurt people are trying to get the attention of the oppressor.”
Think of it like this – you’re riding your bike and you’re about to hit a pedestrian. You ring your bell. They don’t move. You politely say, “On your left.” They still don’t move. So you say it a little louder. Nothing. There is nowhere for you to swerve. So you have to yell. You have to get angry. You have to make your voice heard.
What is White privilege?
Black people were held back for hundreds of years and so if in the late 1960’s we say ‘ok Black people, you can go now’ – that’s not a fair race…So White privilege is having a head start due to hundreds and hundreds of years of systematic and systemic racism, it’s having a head start intrinsically built into your life. It’s not saying your life hasn’t been hard, but what it’s saying is that your skin colour hasn’t contributed to the difficulty in your life.
Emmanuel continues his series with this video talking about implicit bias, why we can’t say it’s ‘all lives matter’ and what ‘equality’ means and why it’s so difficult to achieve. In this video, he talks about how to have conversations with your kids about race and colour. We’d strongly recommend watching all three videos – it’s not the responsibility of Black people like Emmanuel to educate us, so we’re incredibly thankful that these videos exist and they’ve shown us that even as people of colour, there is still so much we have to learn.
What’s wrong with saying ‘all lives matter’?
We think Billie Elish’s instagram post, and the graphic below both explain it exceptionally well, and in very simple terms.
Understanding what it means to be racist
In this video, Robin DiAngelo, author of White Fragility (Ngoc: I just finished reading it, and would 15/10 recommend), discusses common misconceptions that people have about racists:
- Racists are individuals, not a system
- A racist person consciously does not like people based on race
- A racist person intentionally seeks to be mean to people of colour
She also talks about the good/bad binary – that is, people assume that to be a racist, you have to be a bad person. Therefore, if you are a ‘good person’, you cannot be racist. This gross misunderstanding of what the word ‘racism’ means, and what being racist actually involves, allows people to absolve themselves from blame when a person of colour accuses them of having done or said something racist.
It seems to be virtually impossible based on that definition for the average White person to look deeply at their socialisation, to look at the inevitability of internalisng racist biases, developing racist patterns, and having racist investments in the system of racism – which is pretty comfortable for us and serves us really well.
And finally, if you’re confused by why people are saying ACAB
This TikTok (of all things), has probably been the best thing we’ve found to explain why saying ‘but not all cops are bad’ is not helpful.
Thank you all for reading – although our blog is primarily about reading, we will continue to share resources as we come across them, and to post content that encourages robust discussions about racism and how we can all work to become better allies for Black people around the world.