You may have noticed, or equally may not have noticed, that I’ve not been around much online. And when I am, I’ve been sharing stuff which I hope amplifies voices from people who don’t look like me: Specifically Black People and the Black Lives Matter movement.
I’ve been trying to give more space to BIPOC, this includes trans and non binary folk too.
Many people posted a Black Square on Instagram and then reverted back to “normal” activities. This hasn’t sat right with me. I didn’t post a black square, (and that doesn’t mean I’m better or worse at this than you) I just posted my thoughts about the BLM movement. I have continued to share resources in my Stories.
I am learning too and prepared to make mistakes.
This doesn’t mean as white people, we cant share our own lives; What I mean is, Read The Room. Does sharing another picture of avo toast seem appropriate when there’s a revolution going on?
Everyone will have their own individual take on this, and yes, some people use social media as a form of escapism, to be entertained. Don’t forget, there is joy in Black Lives too. A great example- Candice’s feed is FULL of joy…
And some people have their livelihoods on Instagram, sharing products that they make and sell (and similar) are these people supposed to not work? The answer is incredibly nuanced, and as a White person, I’m figuring this out too.
What I can say is this; The people I do follow who have small businesses and make/sell stuff HAVE been vocal, and continue to be vocal about BLM. If they haven’t, I’ve either unfollowed, questioned them or muted- depending on who it is.
I believe Followers are looking at Influencers (yes, I dislike those words too, but I mean anyone with a following in this case) for guidance on this and if people are being quiet because they don’t know what to say, then that gives their followers the excuse to be quiet too; because so-and-so isn’t talking about it so why should I?
This Vice article goes into more detail and, “...navigating a new political reality in which centring yourself and selling product is the last thing followers want to hear about.”
What I’m getting at here is that we (white people) need to continue this learning and unlearning. I wanted to check myself, give myself accountability, so I’m sharing this audit with you. I may not share this every month but I intend on keeping tabs on myself and make sure I am doing something every month.
This month I have;
- Read, Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge
- Written to my MP twice; She replied today.
- Shared resources in my Stories on IG.
- Replied to newsletters from folk I subscribe to if they haven’t mentioned BLM, calling them out in a gentle but positive way. The replies have been mixed, many saying that they don’t know what to say, others saying they don’t need to say anything because their biz is diverse already…
- Created a page on my blog dedicated to BLM resources.
- Spoken at length with my husband and children about what is happening, and what has gone before.
- Downloaded (but not yet read) This Book is Anti-Racist by Tiffany Jewell. This is a really good one for reading with kids, I’ll include it in an upcoming Book Video.
- Also downloaded and going to read ASAP: Superior- The Return of Race Science by Angela Saini.
- Posted resources in my kid’s school PTA Facebook group, which I’m ashamed to say went down like a lead balloon.
- Signed and shared multiple petitions in an effort to bring justice, improve lives and begin to create systems that can ensure equality for Black people.
- Intentionally diversified my feed, and yes that means I’ve unfollowed some white folk as well.
- Virtually gathered with friends for deep discussions on BLM, our whiteness, and surrounding issues.
I’m not saying all this to get a pat on the back or a prize; this isn’t a competition. My aim is to keep myself accountable to doing something each month. I hope you are doing something each month too?