Black Lives Matter. Representation Matters. Part 1

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black woman wearing yellow silk scarf, one end tossed in the air in front of her

 

First, because this should always be clear.  Black Lives Matter.  ALL of them.

This shouldn't be a point for argument.  Black lives matter/ But -  That dialog shouldn't be happening.  If all lives matter, then the conversations should go Black lives matter/ Yes, they do.

It's not Black lives matter only or instead of.  The point is that Black lives matter JUST AS MUCH and our current society is stacked against them - police, government, educational systems, medical and banking and home industries, even the use of English* (and this is not a complete list) - even before you get to individuals who argue, or worse, when someone says Black lives matter.  That is racism, that is all racism.

 

I'm willing to discuss what I'm learning, but if you're looking for a starting point, or a keeping-going point for that matter, there are people far more informed than I to go to (for one thing, they're Black):

** PLEASE NOTE: I'm not trying to present these people as the answer - there is absolutely anti-racism work any of us who are not Black can do guided by these people and the resources they have published, especially those of us who are white (myself included).  But his isn't a test we can ace if we study the right books and there is work worth knowing out there by so many more Black people (and not just on anti-racism - also on finance and law and gardening and chemistry and art). Anti-racism work is more complicated than studying for a chemistry quiz and we need to do it anyway.

**PLEASE NOTE 2: Many of these people are on Facebook or Instagram or other social medial platforms, but please do not take this as permission to message them privately.  They have a lot of work you can find in the world already, and the demands on their time - especially now, especially for unpaid work - are enormous.**

 

Ijeoma Oluo - author of So You Want to Talk About Race

The beauty of anti-racism is that you don't have to pretend to be free of racism to be an anti-racist.  Anti-racism is the commitment to fight racism wherever you find it, including in yourself.  And it's the only way forward. - Ijeoma Oluo

Naomi O'Brien - co-creator of The White Families' Guild to Talking About Racism, The POC Families' Guide to Racism, and The Black Families' Guide to Racism

Don't say "we" when you mean "I". Don't say "it" or "this" when you mean "racism". Don't say "we all" when you mean "white people".  Be direct about what you are talking about.  Centering white comfort does not help dismantle racism. - Naomi O'Brien

Ibram X. Kendi - author of How to Be an Antiracist

What's the problem with being 'not racist'? It is a claim that signifies neutrality: 'I am not a racist, but neither am I aggressively against racism.' But there is no neutrality in the racism struggle....One either allows racial inequities to persevere, as a racist, or confronts racial inequities, as an antiracist. There is no in-between safe space of 'not racist.' The claim of 'not racist' neutrality is a mask for racism. - Ibram X. Kendi

Layla F. Saad - author of Me and White Supremacy

Black LIFE Matters.  As in Black health, Black wealth, Black success, Black joy, Black breath, Black love, Black anger, Black laughter, Black creativity, Black abundance, Black peace, Black ease, Black well-being, Black self-expression, Black community, Black culture, Black safety, Black protection, Black leadership, Black history, Black self-determination, Black self-definition, Black individuality, Black truth-telling, Black humanity, Black existence. - Layla F. Saad

Rachel Cargle - founder of The Loveland Foundation and curator of syllabi for her Patreon program The Great Unlearn

Nice does not equal not racist. - Rachel Cargle

 


*I'm U.S. based and an American English speaker, which is why I'm including this example; I'm not familiar with similar biases in other languages, but I wouldn't be surprised if they're there.

 

It's important to read, but it's important to do more than read.  This post is part of a series.  See the next post here, or search the tag blacklivesmatter.

Photo courtesy of Lex + Wolf Photography


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