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Thursday 4 June 2020

Let's talk....... racism

Obviously, at this stage, we are all aware of the horrific, brutal murder of George Floyd by a police officer and because my posts are pre-scheduled, I didn't want you to think that I was glazing over the issue and not addressing it. I did post on my stories about it just after it happened, but this deserves a post of its own, because conversations need to be had. As we have all learned, it is not enough to not be racist, we have to be actively non-racist and fight for equality. We need to educate ourselves in order to try to comprehend what life is like for people of colour. As I said on my Instagram post, I had the privilege of growing up in a small Irish village, raised in a house that didn't recognise ourselves as being better than anybody, regardless of creed, colour, education, profession etc. I feel that this upbringing has stood me in good stead for life. I'm sure that a lot of you reading this were raised this way too but what we may not have understood prior to recent weeks is that this is a privilege that we may have taken for granted (possibly without even knowing or being aware of it). 

In the tiny village that I grew up in, there was one family of colour and I'd like to think that they didn't suffer racial abuse, but do I know? No, because I didn't ask them. Why didn't I ask them? Because I didn't see them as anything other than a family in our village, just like any other family and as kids, you don't see colour. I asked my parents at the weekend if they were aware of any racial slurs towards them at the time (mid '80s, small Irish village - everyone knows everything about one another) and they said that they couldn't recall ever hearing anything negative. I hope that's not us just looking back with rose-tinted glasses but who knows?

I am married to a mixed race man who was raised in the U.K and did have some racial slurs thrown at him when he was growing up. Our personalities are so different - I am fiery when I need to be and have no problem asking awkward questions or giving an honest (if unpopular) opinion, whereas he is much more laid back and less confrontational. We really do balance each other out. When we chatted about what happened to George Floyd at the weekend (this was after I had confronted teenagers who had had a party in a derelict house across the road from ours, ignoring all of the Covid rules, despite my telling them the previous night that I had Covid - I was so angry and they are a generation who have probably never heard the word no, that they actually looked pale and very taken aback by my fiery outburst on Saturday morning), I understood more why my husband is less confrontational that I am. Had he retaliated every time he received racial abuse when he was growing up, he would have been more of a target, so instead, he just kept quiet and ignored it. That alone shows my white privilege - I've always confronted bullies (even when the situation didn't involve me because I abhor bullying), always voiced my opinion and challenged those of others because I didn't have to worry about consequences just because of the colour of my skin. (When I say confrontational, I never look for trouble but I take no shit - these days, since becoming ill and also since, meeting my husband, I'm less fiery as I don't have the energy but it's still there when needed - last weekend as an example). We are a good balance, my husband and I, but it was truly only after the death of George Floyd, and the conversations that ensued that I fully understood that aspect of his personality.

What changes can we make?

However, in the past week, I have learned that just because I pride myself on not being a racist, that is not enough. I personally won't buy Tarte makeup products because of their pathetic shade range and even worse excuse, when they first released their foundation - none of my family on my husband's side would have been able to choose a shade (this may have changed since then, I don't know because the brand doesn't interest me). 

When Dove released the above ad (however short-lived), I immediately stopped buying anything from that brand and never will again. 

Not buying from brands that are not inclusive is a small, but easy way to support the anti-racism movement. From now on, I will be checking all brands that I buy from or work with, for their stance on inclusivity and their reaction to the murder of George Floyd. All small things but if enough people do the same, it will bring change.

Pulling people up on racist comments or remarks, even if they say "I'm not racist" - remind them that what they just said is. Make people think more about what they say and who they are offending with their 'banter'.

I have personally donated to Official George Floyd Memorial fund, Black Lives Matter and Division of Indian Work. I personally donate to charity on a weekly basis and will continue to vary the charities I donate to.

You can send a card/letter or donation to the family at:

The Estate of George Floyd
c/o Ben Crump Law, PLLC
122 S. Calhoun Street
Tallahassee, FL 32301
Attn: Adner Marcelin

If you cannot afford to donate to charity, I would urge you to sign the petitions:

Justice for George Floyd.

The NAACP have called for the three other officer involved who were merely sacked, to be arrested. Sign here. There is another petition for their arrests here. Updated to add that these officers have now been charged.

Books I have ordered to educate myself more:

Why I'm No Longer Talking To White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge
Me and White Supremacy by Layla F Saad
White Fragility by Robin Diangelo

If there are others that you can recommend, please do.

Five Netflix Series to watch:

When They See Us - I cried watching this but just because something upsets you or make for uncomfortable viewing, doesn't mean that you shouldn't watch them. It's nothing compared to how uncomfortable it is for people to live through these events.

Time: The Kalief Browder Story - my friend Laura has recommended this a number of times.

Explained: The Racial Wealth Gap.


Who Killed Malcom X?

What else can you do?

Pay very close attention to who you elect on a local or national level - check their policies and history as they will be the policy-makers.

Join a protest (if possible). I am too ill at the moment but once I am strong enough, I will be there fighting for equality.

Have conversations, no matter how uncomfortable, open up the dialogue so that we can all learn more as education is so powerful.

Remember that, unfortunately, George Floyd's story is not a one off. Be aware that racism is a far worse affliction than Covid-19 ever will be in terms of the lives it takes and look at the attention you are giving that. Do better - we can all do better.

I would love to hear your thoughts and recommendations below. 

Thanks for reading! 

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All products are bought by me, unless otherwise stated. Anything marked with a * has been gifted without any obligation. I don't do sponsored posts. Opinion is always my own. Affiliate links may be used.

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