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#AmplifyMelanatedVoices

Hello Friends, I hope you’re safe and well.

Todays blog was going to be about the new blanket knit kit but with the protests and the global outcry to educate ourselves more to become anti-racist it felt FAR more useful to share with you some of my favourite activists, educators, podcasts, books and humans so that you can make use of their resources and we can all become better ally’s to people of colour (POC). For the record, I’m going to write this assuming you are white and you want to become/continue your journey to being Anti-Racist and a better Ally to POC.

F.Y.I If you’ve not yet done Harvard’s Implicit Bias Test then I highly recommend it. Be totally honest and see if the result surprise you, I think they might: https://implicit.harvard.edu/implicit/takeatest.html 

artwork by @ohhappydani

Below are a few quick fire points I’ve learnt to hopefully combat any questions if you’re just starting your Anti-Racism journey, but obviously the best people to learn from are POC with experience and expertise rather than a white woman who’s still learning 🙋🏼‍♀️ ….

  • WHITE PRIVILEGE is different to privilege, to quote Courtney Ahn “It doesn’t mean your live hasn’t been hard, it means your skin tone isn’t one of the things making it harder”
  • RACISM IS SYSTEMIC. It is institutionalised into us. This is not about whether you’re a nice person or not, you can be a nice person but also be racist because it is effectively built into us. This is about making a decision to unlearn systemic racism to become a better ally.
  • OVERT & COVERT RACISM. Most people think that racism is only in overt acts like using racial slurs and loudly expressing your (shitty) views however research has shown that covert racism is a lot more damaging (i.e ‘you’re not like other black people’) 
  • “I’M NOT RACIST” So if we accept the two points above that we are all inherently racist and likely our racism has been expressed covertly (‘can I touch your hair?’ etc) then I imagine we can agree that saying ‘I’m not racist’ is bullshit and not enough, we need to be actively anti-racist. Putting our money where our mouth is and speaking up, particularly when it might cost us.
  • IT IS NOT PERSONAL. I know it feels easy to take these conversations as a personal attack but honestly, it’s not about YOU. It’s about a systemic problem that we’ve all allowed to continue. It’s uncomfortable and filled with guilt and you may want to step back or you may feel like something that’s said is ‘unfair’ but this is NOT about us. Sit with your guilt and get comfortable with feeling uncomfortable. People are dying, there is work to be done that is far more important than us feeling a bit hard done by or slighted.
  • IT’S OUR JOB. Something I have to remind myself occasionally – we don’t assume all women are an authority on Feminism so we mustn’t expect all Black people to be an authority on race activism. It is not Black people’s job to educate us. It’s our job to seek out activists and educators and listen to them, learn from them and act as allies.
  • BOUNDARIES. If you follow someone on social media to learn from them please respect their boundaries (often activists have a highlight set up on their profile with their boundaries clearly laid out.) It takes a huge amount of emotional labour for them to show up constantly and consistently and to educate and discuss this trauma (because racism is trauma)… lets not add to that. Also, if you appreciate their work and have the means, please consider paying them for their labour.

P.S I’m so sorry I’ve not cited any references, I wanted to publish this blog at my usual time and ran out of time. I will come back to them shorty, in the mean time a quick look on google should give you all the information to back up my statements above.

Artwork by @stuffgracemade Quoting Desmond Tutu

People

Here are some resources, people and accounts that I’ve either personally found helpful or been recommended. This is a drop in the ocean, please continue to look online for further information:

First I just wanted to highlight Nova Reid as she’s someone I’ve learnt so much from in the last few years – Nova is an incredible teacher, I’ve been on her Anti-Racism course since January and it’s brilliant. She runs other courses as well offering A LOT of free resources and teachings on her instagram, she’s done a Ted Talk about Micro-aggressions which is a must watch AND she has a podcast. There is already SO MUCH you can learn just from this one woman. Here are some links to help you find her offerings:

IG: https://www.instagram.com/novareidofficial/

Ted Talk: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G8iNGeVyvUs&feature=youtu.be&autoplay=1&mute=1

Online Courses: https://novareid.com/services/online-courses/

Podcast: https://podcasts.apple.com/gb/podcast/conversations-with-nova-reid/id1506584414

Please do remember though, that it’s so important to listen to as many voices as possible following one woman of colour/one educator isn’t a full education. Here are just a few people and accounts I love to follow on IG because of their content and input:

Candice Brathwaite: https://www.instagram.com/candicebrathwaite/

Rachel Cargle: https://www.instagram.com/rachel.cargle/

The Conscious Kid: https://www.instagram.com/theconsciouskid/

No White Saviours: https://www.instagram.com/nowhitesaviors/

Munroe Bergdorf: https://www.instagram.com/munroebergdorf/

Aja Barbar: https://www.instagram.com/ajabarber/

Please check out their feeds, whilst respecting their boundaries, every single one of these people/accounts has amazing content we can learn from right now and will lead you to discover further accounts and information and as mentioned above, if you appreciate their work and have the means please join their Patreons, ask for their PayPal details, or sign up to their courses.

Action

Learning is so important right now but actions are vital, we can’t forever sit on IG scrolling and assuming that because we’re educating ourselves better we’re being ‘good’ it’s useless unless we’re actioning it. Here’s some things you can do immediately:

  • Sign Petitions: There are so many petitions at the moment that could use your voice here are just a few

Petitions demanding Justice for George Floyd and his family – https://www.wecantbreathenational.org & https://www.change.org/p/mayor-jacob-frey-justice-for-george-floyd

Petition to charge the other police officers involved with George Floyds Murder – https://www.change.org/p/change-org-the-minneapolis-police-officers-to-be-charged-for-murder-after-killing-innocent-black-man

Petition for the UK government to condemn Donald Trumps response to the Black Lives Matter Protests – https://www.change.org/p/boris-johnson-the-uk-government-must-condemn-trump-s-response-to-the-murder-of-george-floyd

Petition for the UK Government to include Black History in the curriculum – https://www.change.org/p/gavin-williamson-mp-teach-british-children-about-the-realities-of-british-imperialism-and-colonialism

  • Donate (if you have the means) If not, you can watch this you tube video by Zoe Amira who’s donating all the ad revenue to different organisations https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bCgLa25fDHM – there’s also a comprehensive list of petitions in the description on her video.

You can find SO MANY more petitions and places to donate via this link, you can choose where you direct money rather than me telling you: https://blacklivesmatters.carrd.co/#

Speak Up

We really need to use our privilege more to benefit others, ways we can do this are to speak up when it might cost us.

  • If you’re a brand then REPRESENTATION MATTERS, use POC in your marketing and pay them fairly!!
  • If you’re an influencer than ask who else is being paid for the same campaign (do they all look like you? – If so, do not work with them) Ask if they claim to support BLM but use modern day slavery to make their cheap clothes? If so, do no work with them.
  • If you’re on a panel or asked to speak somewhere, ask who else will be speaking? (will they all look like you? – you know what I’m going to say!)
  • If you’re in a meeting, NOTICE if the POC are listened to fairly and speak up if not.
  • If your Black friend tells you you’ve said something racist – LISTEN, learn and apologise.
  • If someone you love says something racist at the dinner table don’t just roll your eyes, tell them that that is not OK, ask them why they feel that’s acceptable and then try to educate them.

There are obviously hundreds more examples I could use but ultimately we need to get used to using our voices to benefit others, especially when it might cost us because that is how change will be made.

Books

If you’ve been online you’ve probably seen loads of TV and Book references so I’m just including a few here:

Me and White Supremacy by Layla F Saad, // Why I’m No Longer Talking To White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge
I Am Not Your Baby Mother by Candice Brathwaite // Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo

I hope this post was useful to some and hopefully holds some information that adds value. There’s so much content around racism and white privilege at the moment I know it can seem a little overwhelming when broaching the subject for the first time. It really is a mark of our privilege that we’ve been so unaware for so long. There’s an awful lot of guilt and discomfort here to wade through but if we didn’t have those feelings then we’d be doing something wrong by not acknowledging how we’ve benefited from a corrupt system. The important thing is that we do better going forward. We must use what we learn to turn out emotions into actions.

I’ve been unsure whether to add what I’m/LAD is doing as part of my own learning and action in case it seems centring, I think it’s best not to go into details (unless anyone would like receipts in which case I can share them) but it’s a journey I’ve been on for a while and feel passionate about and yet I still have SO MUCH to learn. Whilst I’m learning I’ve donated as much money as I can to the movement and signed plenty of petitions. As a business we’ve donated over £300 this week to Black Lives Matter and using my platform on Instagram when I can (around work) to share as much as I can – I say this simply so you know I’m trying to practice what I preach.

I’m going to leave you with slides from Courtney Ahn about White Privilege as I think they explain things beautifully… 

Take Care Pals, look after yourselves and each other,

Lauren x

What a LAD

Chunky knitter, tea drinker, word writer. I'm Lauren Aston: bringing you 90% waffle and 10% useful information.

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