We All Bleed The Same Color #blacklivesmatter
Updated: Jun 29, 2020
Black skin, white skin, and all the tones in between, we all bleed the same color...
Racism can be a difficult topic to talk about and by no means do I claim to be an expert. As a woman of dual heritage, I know all too well what it feels like to be insulted, mocked and laughed at because of my ethnicity. That being said, I want to stress that although my experiences were damaging to my self-esteem, I by no means equate these to that which the Black community have endured. I do however think it’s important for us to share and listen to stories from other ‘POC’ (people of color) to promote a greater social understanding. I'm simply sharing my memories to open up a dialogue as a starting point to a world of peace, love and acceptance.
More importantly, I’ve compiled some educational resources for us; from petitions to podcasts and books all in the hopes that you can join me in learning more about how to be actively anti-racist in whichever format suits you. This is by no means a comprehensive list so please feel free to add to it in the comments.
You’ll have already heard about George Floyd - He was a 46 year old African-American man who died in custody in May after an officer from the Minneapolis Police Department stood on his neck for almost 9 minutes! A month on and still, I can’t even begin to imagine how his family are feeling - My sincere condolences go out to them during this difficult time.
George’s death is a prime example of police brutality in the United States. Not only does it emphasise just how much of a problem systemic racism is today but the video evidence I believe, was the ‘last straw’ for the Black community. Amongst countless other Black victims, Floyd’s passing in particular has sparked a revolution - A mass awakening of the racial inequality and longstanding history of anti-blackness that persists in 2020. The Black Lives Matter movement sees people from diverse backgrounds banding together to fight for significant change; from protests (and riots), to voting and sending letters to MPs, together we have stood in solidarity. While many of us are working towards being anti-racist, my concern is, how do we improve or change the minds of those whose racist attitudes are deeply ingrained? These are the people who should not be allowed to hold positions of authority within our communities. These are the people who really need to do the work.
MY EXPERIENCE OF RACIAL ABUSE
My ethnicity, my identity and my self esteem - These were the things I struggled with growing up as a teenager. I am of mixed race, part Chinese and part Italian but due to my appearance, I may be perceived as more Chinese than Italian-looking. In actual fact I identify as more Chinese because I have never known the Italian side of my family but that’s another story.
Although the high school I attended was culturally diverse, I experienced racial abuse. I knew that the racial remarks, the chanting of the Chinese-sounding words, (I'm sure you know how they go), the pull of the eyes, and, threats to be beaten up simply for being me were wrong. It was an extremely uncomfortable time for me. I dreaded going to school and the bullying I think is why I took to the lunchtime art club - A safe haven, a place to hide myself away to avoid the torment.
I failed to report this issue and neither did I speak to my family about it. For me, it was easier to be silent and submit to the behaviour of those bullies. I was afraid so to avoid further conflict, I buried my feelings and just carried on in the hopes that the problem would go away. 'If I report this, maybe they will come after me again,’ I thought to myself. I remember feeling on edge when ‘break time’ came around - I should've been enjoying my time at school but I didn't. I lacked the confidence to stand up for myself. I felt less than. I felt outcast and inadequate. It took me a very long time to accept that I was unique but thankfully today looks very different as I embrace my heritage which often inspires my work.
HOW TO BE AN ALLY TO OUR BLACK COMMUNITY
I’d like to be clear on where I stand. I stand against racism and injustice. I stand with our Black friends in seeking change and I stand committed to evaluating and educating myself. I understand that being anti-racist will require a consistent effort but I think continued silence, impartiality and complacency equates to zero progress. There’s no perfect way to navigate this, it will be exhausting, uncomfortable and for many, it will mean stepping out of our comfort zones.
It's important to remember that this revolution is born out of a necessity for basic human rights. I can only hope that the Black Lives Matter revolution will happen in our lifetime. I BELIEVE IN FREEDOM AND EQUALITY FOR EVERYONE, TODAY AND EVERY DAY – THIS SHOULD BE AN INHERENT RIGHT BUT UNFORTUNATELY, IT’S NOT.
Here's what we can do to be an ally:
- Educate ourselves and especially our children - See resources below
- Encourage honest conversations with family and friends
- Share useful resources on your social media
- Write letters to MPs - Challenge power structures that seek to deny the voices and experiences of POC (people of color)
- Protest (if possible)
- Donate to causes (if possible)
- Support black owned businesses and friends
While I don’t have all the answers, understanding racism exists where you live is a good start. Only by accepting it and taking action does growth and change follow. Here are some resources I’ve put together for us to reference. Share this with your family, friends and on social media.
ANTI-RACISM LEARNING RESOURCES FOR KIDS
FOR KIDS: books (Some of the stories are centred around diversity and inclusion whereas with others the character(s) happen to be Black, Asian or mixed race)
Raising Little Allies-To-Be (Free download)
FOR KIDS: people to follow
ANTI-RACISM LEARNING RESOURCES FOR ADULTS
TV & FILM: netflix
12 Years A Slave
Anne with an E
Dear White people
Self Made: Inspired by the Life of Madam C.J. Walker
She’s Gotta Have It
The Innocence Files
Trigger Warning With Killer Mike
Who Killed Malcolm X?
When They See Us
TV & FILM: bbc iplayer
TV & FILM: amazon prime video
TV & FILM: youtube
Revolution Playlist (Spotify)
INSTAGRAM QUICK GUIDES
You can donate just by listening to hip hop music. 100% of advertising revenue generated by this Hip Hop Music stream will be donated to Black Lives Matter (blacklivesmatter.com)
I hope this post was helpful to you? As I've said, this is not a comprehensive list so please feel free to comment any resources I've missed.
Graphics created by Melissa Selmin.