This article is dedicated to the #BlackLivesMatter movement in memoriam of George Floyd.
George Floyd was a 46-year-old Black man living in Minneapolis, Minnesota, (ironically listed as the 46th largest city in America). George tragically lost his life on May 25th, 2020 after he was handcuffed and pinned to the floor by a U.S Police Officer, who knelt over his neck for a total of 8 minutes and 46 seconds until he lost consciousness and stopped breathing.
"I Can't Breathe"
Many have been sharing Floyd’s last words in protest against police brutality in the United States, however having watched the footage for myself, the moment which really gets me is when the officer yells at George to get up and get in the car while still kneeling on his neck. George gasped, “I will” yet the officer never let him move.
A moment of hope, taken away by white supremacy.
A moment which I will never fully understand.
In times like this, I turn to my inner guidance and ask, how did we get here? How have we let white privilege dominate our society before our very eyes? Have we all been so blind to see what has been going on? Have we contributed to part of this problem? More importantly, what can we do to change it.
““Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter” - Martin Luther King Jr
I am not white, but perhaps I am still privileged.
I can get pulled over by the police and not fear for my safety or my life
I can go to the shop and not feel like I am being followed or watched
I can turn on the TV and see people of my race widely represented
I can count on my skin colour not to work against the appearance of my financial
I can easily buy books, movies, magazines and toys featuring people of my race
I can buy makeup in shades that mostly match my skin colour
I can do well in a challenging situation without being called a credit to my race
I can voice concern about racism without being seen as self-seeking
I have struggled my whole life with not being white enough to be white or black enough to be black. Someone once called me ‘half black’ in response to me sharing that my ethnicity is half Persian.
I have been so used to sitting on the fence that I didn’t realize by not taking a side I was part of the problem.
I have learned a very valuable lesson this week…It is no longer acceptable to stay silent. It is no longer ok to remove ourselves from what is happening in the world and turn a blind eye because it doesn’t affect us.
We must all find our voice within and contribute to making this society an equal playing field for Black Lives.
We must all become part of the solution.
I have been following the Instagram account @soyouwanttotalkabout for some informative insights on what White Privilege actually means. This terminology alone can be very triggering for white people who are not comfortable being described by their race and also for white people who have grown up with their own, non-race related struggles.
Here are some key messages that I have learned throughout the last week about White Privilege:
What is White Privilege?
Societal privileges that benefit white people over people of color, under the same social, political and economic circumstances
White Privilege exists as a direct result of both historic and enduring racism, biases and practices designed to oppress people of color
White Privilege does not mean you have not suffered in your life, but it does mean that you have not suffered because of the color of your skin.
Systematic Racism exists on every level of society: - Black Graduates are 2x more likely to be unemployed - The typical Net Worth of a White family is nearly 10x greater than that of a Black family - Black Americans are 30% more likely to be pulled over - More than 60% of people in prison are people of color - 5 in 10 black children live in poverty - Black women are 4x more likely to die during childbirth (Source: Brookings Institute, United States of America)
What is the difference between White Privilege and White Supremacy?
White Privilege is the belief that something is not a problem because it does not affect you.
White Supremacy is the system that protects White Privilege.
It is not enough for us to keep quiet because this strengthens the notion that we do not need change, and that is the opposite of what we need right now.
How can we recognize our Privilege and do better?
Learning about our privilege should not be a burden or a source of guilt. Instead, we can use it as an opportunity to learn and educate ourselves about how we can do better and create the change that the world so desperately needs to see.
Less judgment Judgment is the fuel that will keep this fire burning. More fire is not what we need right now. Release your judgment and focus on what you can do to help.
Honor how you feel Judgment, guilt, and shame could be coming up for you right now, but these will not help you heal or grow. Honor your feelings, lean into them, journal and meditate. Growth is a messy and uncomfortable but necessary process to move forward.
Educating ourselves with love Be kind to yourself and recognize that you are experiencing an awakening. Become inquisitive and educate yourself on the questions that you have.
Be open to listen and learn Willingness to learn today moves us a step ahead of where we were yesterday. Seek out activists in your local area and learn more about what is going on.
Oneness is our true nature Acknowledging that we are all Brothers & Sisters and our energy all exists in the same Universe. We are one.
If you have a voice and a platform of any kind, I urge you to use it to raise awareness for the Black Lives Matter campaign. Black lives have suffered enough at the hands of White Privilege and it is now upon us all to enact change.