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Black Lives Matter - How we can all Contribute to an Anti-Racist Society By Shadele Brown

Recent events concerning racial injustice towards various black people has resulted in an uproar of support flooding in against anti-racism. In a generation that is heavily influenced by the internet and social media, it is becoming increasingly difficult to cover up the blatant instances of racism occurring around the globe.

George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery are just three cases in an everlasting list of individuals who have recently lost their lives due to police brutality against black people.

George Floyd was killed due to ‘asphyxia due to compression of the neck’ after being knelt on the neck by a police officer for over eight minutes, following arrest for allegedly using a counterfeit bill.

Breonna Taylor was killed after being repeatedly shot eight times in her own home, a result of plainclothes Louisville Metro Police Department officers executing a no-knock search warrant as they believed her partner was involved in unlawful behavior concerning selling controlled substances.

Ahmaud Arbery was fatally shot by local residents of a neighbourhood whilst jogging due to being suspected of a robbery.

While it is evident that a lot of the more recent events being echoed by the media revolve heavily around injustice occurring within the United States, it is without doubt that they have contributed heavily to the rise of concern regarding racism within our own communities here in the UK.

The last few weeks have seen schools, universities, businesses, places of worship and various other institutions issue public statements regarding their intolerance towards racism of any kind within their communities. Even Netflix and BBC iPlayer have created categories within their platforms dedicated to learning about racial injustice towards black people. The events in America have brought to light the reality of what has been happening within our own country, not just within history, but in our everyday lives. Racism in the UK didn’t disappear when slavery was abolished in 1833. It still exists today, regardless of whether you have witnessed it or not.

Before we can stand and tackle the racism occurring globally, we must first acknowledge and address the perhaps subtle forms of racism that are ingrained within much of our own society. Social media platforms, such as Instagram, have become a place where people of this generation can find information and resources to aid their understanding and knowledge regarding the covert, hidden forms of racism whilst also being a platform to publicise the reality of racial injustice. This has formed a positive, anti-racist community of individuals who are striving to achieve a common goal - an anti-racist generation.

However, it has subsequently become challenging to decipher what is being done with a genuine intention of overcoming racism and what, on the other hand, is simply a panic response to conform to a trend. It is important that everybody learns and brings awareness to systemic racism in a way that will not only impact their own understanding, but will also be beneficial to those receiving the information. Simply reposting a quote or incident that others are reposting does not necessarily mean that an individual is being proactive. People should not feel obliged to merely conform to a trend without understanding the significance and importance of why we are campaigning for racial equality.

In order for sincere and significant change to occur, it is crucial to understand why the world is in the current climate that it is in regarding racial injustice. This means diving deep into the history of racism, not only in the UK and USA, but all over the world. It is vital to be familiar with a multitude of terminologies that may sound unfamiliar. These include institutional racism, which refers to racism that is built directly into the normal practice of a society, and microaggressions, which are day to day insults that communicate hostility towards marginalised groups. By becoming acquainted with these particular terms as well as understanding the history of racism, it becomes less complicated to understand why the world needs to start moving faster towards permanent change.

What is important is that everyone, in some way, is moving towards creating a society which stands against racism. Whether that be through peaceful protests, social media, actively challenging racism among the people around us, donating money to legitimate causes, signing petitions or simply quietly educating ourselves with the large amount of resources that have been provided, all is necessary and instrumental towards creating a more cultivated generation.

Resources:

Books:

  • So you want to talk about race - Ijeoma Oluo
  • Between the World and Me - Ta-Nehisi Coates
  • How to Be an Antiracist - Ibram X. Kendi

Documentaries:

  • 13th - Netflix
  • When they see us - Netflix
  • Black Hollywood: They’ve gotta have us - BBC Two

Credits:

Created with an image by Kon Karampelas - "Black Lives Matter protest in Melbourne"