Black Lives Matter

I was sitting this afternoon, writing a post.  It went like this:

I don’t feel comfortable writing here about knitting without acknowledging that there is something hugely important going on.  The world has been shocked and appalled by the murder of George Floyd and many have been galvanised into action, even at a time when pandemic makes this protest doubly dangerous.  George’s face is now known all over the world, and his death is sparking protest and internal debate.  But George is just one of millions who have been affected by racist and violent policing, by inequalities in health and housing and education, and more generally by being black in a racist world. Systemic bias and racism affect every aspect of life.  Black lives matter.

As someone who lives outside of America, I know that these images of a highly militarised police force attacking citizens involved in mostly peaceful protest have been shocking.  In Europe, where fascism has shaped the collective memory, these images are especially chilling. These are not the images of a free and democratic country. These are images of authoritarian regimes, of fascism, and of war.

The power and determination of the protesters gives me hope that maybe this time we will get things right.  But it should not have taken people risking their lives by protesting during a global pandemic, one which unequivocally effects black and poor people worse than it does any other group, for white people to decide that things needed to change. Real radical reform needs to happen and it is overdue by more than three centuries. We created the system, we can dismantle it.

And, then, just as I had gotten that far, I heard Trump say this:

 “Hopefully George is looking down right now and saying, ‘This is a great thing that’s happening for our country.’ This is a great day for him. It’s a great day for everybody. This is a great day for everybody. This a great, great day in terms of equality.”

My blood is boiling over, I am so mad.  Trump is so tone deaf, and so utterly venal, that I am more appalled than I thought possible. And it’s not just Trump – he speaks for a large contingency of Americans, and is supported and enabled by Republicans in the Senate and House.  When the President of the United States uses hateful rhetoric, he legitimises it.  

For all of us, we must open our eyes and really see. It isn’t that we did not know there were injustices – we just looked the other way and assumed that it would get fixed. It didn’t. It is time to move out of our comfort zones. We must listen to and amplify voices of colour and acknowledge their experiences as truth. We must educate ourselves and confront bias, including our own. And we must step up.

11 thoughts on “Black Lives Matter

  1. Words cannot express my fear for my country, nor my contempt for its sitting president. Time to step up: to fund the groups which are fighting racism and systematic discrimination, those which provide legal counsel and bail, those which provide food and medical services to the communities that are underserved because of that discrimination. Time to demonstrate. Time to work for worthy political candidates, to register to vote, to vote. We can do all this right now.

  2. That is so eloquently written and I completely agree with what you have said. I did hear that Twitter took down a Trump tweet he’d made about George. I wish I was as articulate as you but in my own words I’ve already started to draft something for my sunday update post. We do need to be speaking up, learning, knowing better and doing better.

  3. Thank you so much for saying this, Kelly! You’re one of only 2 knitting blogs I still read regularly and this means so much!! We will do the work to break white supremacy and vote Dump out!!!!

  4. I agree – but how?

    How do we do it?

    To my knowledge, I have never been racist – but I feel guilty! I feel shame that humans can act in this way.

    How do we stop it?

    How do we change the world?

    How can we make it better?

    I’m not running away from the problem, or pushing it on to someone else, I really am asking. I’m not in a position of national or global power – but I do have to bring up two small boys – so that is a little power, to educate, teach acceptance and encourage them to do more and better.

    But what else can ‘I’ do?!

    • Hi Loramack. There is lots of good advice out there on how to start. Gretchen mentions some great ways to involve yourself in her comment above. If you can’t be out demonstrating, then there are many ways in which you can provide support. Find organisations local to you who are doing work you believe in and ask how you can help. Voting is key, and helping to get out the vote is a critical activity. Educate yourself. There are lots of reading lists out there to get you started. I am working through Layla Saad’s workbook – it is hard but really enlightening. She recommends some other books here: Listen to other voices. I also agree that bringing up children is an amazing power (and responsibility); it is a chance for you to instill the values and the vision for a better world.

      • Thank you for replying,
        I’m not a demonstrator, but I am a reader, and that is something I can do – now!
        I’ve been challenged by another source to look at my own white privileged viewpoint, and it’s pretty hard! I live in not inner city Scotland, and my lens is possibly very blinkered, and as I discussed with my white straight male husband – he may have a narrow lens also! But we can read and educate and get involved.
        I don’t let a vote go by without turning up – too much was fought for to give me that right, but as you know in the UK the election mandates have been less about inclusion and more about division!
        Anyway, thank you – I’m gonna go book shopping now!

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