Before I get to sharing the resources that I promised to include in this post, I wanted to write a few thoughts and conversations I’ve had this past week.
TUESDAY, MAY 26TH (Day after George Floyd’s murder) I had a message in my Instagram DM’s from a woman claiming that I play it safe online. That I don’t speak up about the mistreatment of people that don’t look like me, that I live in my own world, and don’t seem to care about important issues like Black Lives Matter. I immediately went into defense mode. I thought about the positive things that I do do for people. As I truly believe I try to make a difference in my community and using my platform for good as much as I can. Never caring about the race, gender, or status of those people that I raise awareness to. So, isn’t that enough to not get this kind of message online?
I noticed that this particular account followed me 5 minutes prior to sending me this message, so I assumed she was coming out of left field, not knowing who I was, and just attacking white women bloggers to make a statement. It’s also shameful to admit that I hadn’t seen anything about George Floyd until later this evening so that didn’t even cross my mind. I’ve admitted to not watching the news, reading articles, and not educating myself enough on important topics.
Today (June 1st) was the first time I’m re-reading this woman’s message in my DM and I can honestly confirm that I see it in such a different light. Unfortunately, this person took a negative word and harassed me for two days straight on various accounts calling me a racist. If that didn’t happen, I would have re-engaged with her on this conversation … thanking her… and talking about what I do know today.
The rest of the week, I continued to share posts for work, as I had contractual obligations posting a meme or story here and there regarding George Floyd and/or what was currently happening… basically what everyone else was posting. I was called out on my paid advertisement posts and ended up having to block two people who were getting really nasty on my feed. It’s not that I didn’t care what was going on. I cared a great deal and was happy to see people finally starting to demand being heard… but I didn’t know as a white woman of privilege how to say more than what was already being said. I didn’t know what I was doing wrong, how I could do more, and how to have a conversation about it in a natural way without it appearing forced or “joining the bandwagon” at this point.
What I came to realize after having many private conversations with followers who were also Black women (as well as women of all backgrounds), was that it wasn’t about me. It wasn’t about feeling uncomfortable. It was a GOOD THING to feel uncomfortable. It’s about speaking up for what is right. And you know what…what is going on RIGHT NOW is actually what I’ve been dreaming of being able to be a part of for as long as I can remember. A CHANGE IN THE WORLD that so many of us feel in our core. The reason I immediately got defensive when a woman called me out online was because I knew in my heart that I stood up for Black men, women, and children. But, was I actually standing up for them? No. In reality, I was doing nothing. I was sitting and going… yeah… yeah… I don’t agree with what is going on yet staying silent showing no support at all. Nothing will change when we are silent.
Therefore, I am beginning my journey to better educate myself and most important to me… implementing diversity more in my home. I purchased White Fragility to listen to in the next week, plan to watch 13th documentary on Netflix, and have a large cart ready to purchase on Amazon full of books, toys, etc. to bring into my home. This is just the beginning. I just ask for your patience with everyone as education doesn’t happen overnight. Continue to have conversations, continue to learn, continue to research… this movement isn’t going anywhere. In fact, it is only the beginning.
Please be careful in your protests. Protect your friends, your neighborhood, businesses, etc. I may not know how you are feeling, but I support you.
QUOTES FROM FOLLOWERS
“Hey, I love in Minneapolis and I just wanted to share that the protests have been very peaceful and there is a huge difference between these peaceful protests and destruction that has been happening at night. The people peacefully protesting and the people destroying our beautiful city are NOT the same for the large majority. It’s incredible to see the difference between the day and night. During the day people are coming together to help clean-up the destruction and work alongside the protestors. It’s the true spirit of this incredible community.”
“Not all cops are bad and not all black people are thugs, looters, etc. But I believe we all need to come together and cast out the bad ones and acknowledge the fault. There are so many trying to prevent the looting. But unfortunately, there’s so many that after all the history the hate is there.”
“The other day my boyfriend went for a bike ride at night, I felt anxiety until he got home. I was worried that when he was riding through the predominantly white neighborhood that they might think he was doing something bad and go after him. Or he might get stopped by the police and they could hurt him. When my son goes out to play, I always have to talk to him about what being black means, and how to react if he is stopped by police. It’s a constant fear.”
“I teach my children to be open and loving to everyone. It’s just so hard to be open sometimes when you have had an experience where you were discriminated against because of the color of your skin. It feels shameful and can almost cause PTSD. It’s like you don’t know how you will be received so you choose to stick with people you feel comfortable with because you don’t want to experience that pain again.”
“It comes down to exposing our children to differences and culture. Diversity is throwing yourself in the melting pot. Go to Black church services, go to Hispanic/Mexican traditional ceremonies, restaurants, to experience. The more you do, the more comfortable kids become with the differences. So, when they are older its already cultivated in them and they don’t know anything else.”
These resources were shared with me in multiple posts and so I want to share them as they were to not discredit the work and research these people have done for us. Thank you!
5 WAYS TO TAKE ACTION
FOLLOW THESE ORGANIZATIONS DOING IMPORTANT WORK SURROUNDING RACIAL EQUITY AND JUSTICE
WATCH THESE FILMS AND SHOWS
LISTEN TO THESE PODCASTS
READ SOME OF THESE BOOKS ON RACE
EDUCATION FOR RAISING KIDS
I’ve received so many amazing recommendations from so many people online that I wouldn’t be able to credit everyone for their work. I’ve included my amazon page where I linked these books for children. 100% of proceeds for the antiracism page will go toward an above fund. Not only are there books about Black history, but I was recommended to get Black main characters in books and toys to normalize the diversity in our home.
*Know that despite what the news is showing you, there are so many positive things going on at this time too. Please don’t discredit or ignore this. SHOWCASE THE POSITIVE THAT IS HAPPENING. That’s the point. Follow @upworthy and @goodnews_movement
*Support your local Black owned businesses and restaurants. I’ve compiled a list for Arizona from followers that I will keep in my highlight called BLM on instagram.
ACCOUNTS TO FOLLOW
HOW YOU CAN HELP (DONATE/SIGN PETITIONS)
- Minnesota Freedom Fund
- Official George Floyd Memorial Fund
- Petition- Justice for George Floyd
- Reclaim The Block
- Black Visions Collective
- NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund
- North Star Health Collective
- Columbus Freedom Fund
- Petition: Justice for Breonna Taylor
- Louisville Bail Fund
- I Run With Maud | Fundraiser for Ahmaud Arbery
BOTTOM LINE WAYS TO DO BETTER AND BE BETTER
- Educate yourself
- Support Activists
- Sign Petitions
- Don’t be silent.
I hope this was helpful to those of you interested in learning more. I’m so happy I put fear of judgement aside and started to educate myself to make a difference.
I’ve compiled books that were recommended to educate yourself and your family/children about racism and diversity. I’ve included them in my Amazon page. 100% of proceeds from the Antiracism page will go toward the above needed funds.
BLACK LIVES MATTER.