The expression of sorrow, rage and even solidarity, will not dismantle systemic white supremacy unless accompanied by direct action.
The continued violence directed towards Black and Indigenous People of Colour (BIPOC) globally, and the structural inequalities and oppression we’ve faced, both historically, and at present, is often expressed as collective trauma and despair.
The weight of mass injustice and complicity can erode resilience until exhaustion and despondency take hold.
That’s how ideological warfare operates.
Inaction is complicity.
Under capitalism, patriarchy and racism, it can take all your energy just to survive, let alone thrive. The emotional labour that comes with challenging structural oppression, is enormous.
Although my personal platform is modest, my work writing for a range of publications is impactful. And knowing this galvanises my will to continue down this path.
I have a growing body of work which directly addresses many of the challenging issues currently up for debate. So, if you’re looking for practical advice on how to show your solidarity beyond online performativity, take a look at my recent archive.
During my time working in the advertising industry, I observed some issues regarding representation both within agencies themselves and the work created. This saw me come up with a series of tips for It’s Nice That, which covered: redressing the imbalance, changing the narrative, telling our true authentic stories, progressing through collaboration, navigating the system and advocating for change.
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Colleagues within my Decolonising Contraception and Sexplain networks also write professionally, and are continuously publishing work which explains other necessary elements of social justice, such as why we need to decolonise healthcare (Dr Annabel Sowemimo, ‘Race tick boxes and bad science mask the real reason why black people are at risk from Covid-19’, gal-dem, May 2020), and campaigning for a public enquiry (Rianna Raymond-Williams, ‘Why I’m fighting for an independent public inquiry into the Covid-19 deaths of people of colour’, gal-dem, April 2020) into why a disproportionate number of minoritised people have died from COVID-19.
As BIPOC, we are not obligated to teach the privileged how the current system benefits them – nor how to offer basic humanity. But not doing so further entrenches lack of understanding, which, in turn, breeds toxicity and violence.
This is how privilege warps what ‘equality’ really looks and feels like. The fact is, privilege often seems like equality to the privileged. Simply put, when you’re accustomed to privilege, equality can feel like oppression.
Inaction is complicity.
The following books are both extremely accessible.
Tiffany Jewell. Illustrated by Aurélia Durand (2020)
Give space for BIPOC people to honestly express their lived experiences of discrimination. Check-in with yourself using this Racism Scale tool created by C Demnowicz (Racism Scale, Version 3.0, last updated: 03.06.2019).
Seek out professionals to help tackle unconscious bias.
The Other Box Understanding Emotional Bias During Lockdown
Leyyla Sattar and Roshni Goyate run ‘Know Your Bias’ courses via their organisation The Other Box.
As you see, much work is being done to make the world a more just place, but we need allies to fight for us too.
Remember, “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.” – Desmond Tutu
Want to actively fight racism? Please do consider donating to the Minnesota Freedom Fund, or to Decolonising Contraception – we don’t receive any funding, and operate solely from donations and income generated from our workshops.
Update – 3 June 2020
This piece has now been edited to reference, by name and outlet, the following linked resources:
- Dr Annabel Sowemimo, ‘Race tick boxes and bad science mask the real reason why black people are at risk from Covid-19’, gal-dem, May 2020
- Rianna Raymond-Williams, ‘Why I’m fighting for an independent public inquiry into the Covid-19 deaths of people of colour’, gal-dem, April 2020
- C Demnowicz, Racism Scale, Version 3.0, last updated: 03.06.2019