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Lancashire Times
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Isabelle Clayton
Features Writer
9:33 AM 4th June 2020
Opinion

Tired Of Hearing About Racism? Imagine How Tired The People Are Experiencing It

As a white female - part of the youth of Yorkshire - I realise as I scroll through my phone the privilege that I hold.

‘RIP George Floyd’ flashes up on my phone; another life lost.

I am frustrated. I am saddened. I am angry.

Another black, innocent life lost at the hands of our white supremacy. At the hands of merciless police. At the hands of us all. We are just as bad as the individuals with blood on their hands if all we do is sit in silence as the black community beg for their voices to be heard.

They BEG. And don’t you hear? I ask you, can you not hear them?

The non-white communities are suffocating without their voices, their opinions, their stories being heard. Just as George Floyd did, a black middle-aged man, who was murdered by a US cop kneeling on his neck for 8 long minutes while he pleaded ‘I can’t breathe.’

We cannot forget their names or their stories. Trayvon Martin, Philando Castile, Tatayana Hargrove, Tamir Rice and George Floyd are just five of the many lives lost.

The reasoning behind it? Racism.

You may feel that there is no racism in your area, that no one uses racist slurs, or discriminates against other citizens because of the colour of their skin. You may think that racism is non-existent in Yorkshire, or in the UK at all; that it is only in America where we see the atrocities committed against innocent black people that can only be described as murder. In 2019, there were only 27 days out of the entire year where a person of colour was not murdered by the American police. If you can confidently stand in your place and tell me racism does not exist in our modern era - in our society - remind yourself of the idea that if it was your son, if it was your daughter, your friend, or brother, sister, mother who was killed because of the colour of their skin… tell me now: would you be silent?

I understand there are laws in place in our country (such as the Equality Act 2010) to forbid gender, sexuality or race etc. to be a discriminating factor in the workplace, however I think it is brutally important that we remind ourselves that racism does still exist in our everyday lives.

There is still casual racism, among harmful stereotypes about different races as well as plain, explicit discrimination.

And it needs to be stopped.

Just because it is not happening on our doorstep in front of our very eyes does not mean it is not happening. It also does not mean that we cannot do anything about it. We can use our privilege and our ears to listen, to give black voices a platform to tell their story.

You can sign petitions; they only take about 30 seconds each to complete. Every little helps. There are websites online full of links that lead you to helpful resources. If you have the funds, donate. Donations to certain charities which help black communities and the families of those who have lost their lives to the American police makes a huge difference in how we can support black communities while continuing to bring about change.

Learn about black history if you have not already. Think back to your time at school: were you taught about slavery, or the 1960’s civil rights movement, Malcolm X, Black Panthers, Martin Luther King? After speaking and listening to members of the black community, it is clear they are exhausted. They are tired of having to lecture white, ignorant people - who easily have access to the internet – on their history when we should already know.

We should not have to ask them to tell us about their oppression, about their ancestor’s savage treatment, or about the discrimination their people have faced if they do not want us to. We are capable of finding out ourselves. And we should do. We must do.

As a white person myself, I see it as my duty to do everything I possibly can to make non-white individual’s lives just a little bit easier. This is not the beginning of a race war… we are striving to end one. With the riddance of ignorance we can spread awareness. A lot of racism is prevalent because of ignorance and individuals who are uneducated on the matter. If we are educated ourselves, then we can responsibly inform others of knowledge and statistics and facts. Knowledge is power. Spread campaigns and useful links on social media and speak to family and friends about the #BlackLivesMatter movement. If the conversation is hard, then it is probably one worth having.

Lastly, you can find out about protests near you via the internet and attend. We must understand that if we are white then we will never understand the oppression black people experience because of their race, however we CAN stand against racism. We can stand alongside them at rallies and protests and show our support.

So, I ask you to promote the Black Lives Matter movement. PLEASE. This is my future. This is our future and it is our duty to support the non-white people of our world.

The time is always right to do what is right - Martin Luther King