Fuck. I don’t even know where to start.
Who would have thought the day after my last post that the world would be able to change again so dramatically for the worse. The global pandemic that has killed hundreds of thousands of people is second in the news to a pandemic of even greater magnitude. One that has spent more than 400 years spreading its illness into every facet of our lives and systematically disenfranchising people in ways that even the most virulent flu wouldn’t be able to. And on top of that, the actual COVID-19 virus itself is fucking racist.
I am a white man in his twenties. I have suffered no racism, only the privilege that is afforded to me by systems put into place that benefit my gender and skin colour. I have stood by whilst family members have made racist jokes, I haven’t called people out when they refer to shops owned by ethnic minorities by their race instead of their function. I have been able to turn off the news, shut out the noise, ignore the voices that have been demanding change for years.
I have been coming to terms over the past few weeks with my complicity with racism. It is an uncomfortable truth, and one that will need significant work to even begin to rectify. For the first time in my life social media is actually providing some value. I have seen so much that I never knew existed. The level of brutality still being performed on Black bodies is horrific, the logic behind treating protesters of oppression with oppression is mind boggling. Though my main frustration right now is that friends and colleagues are treating this as an American problem.
I’ve bought a few books, and I’ll offer them as a library for anyone who wants to borrow. It’s something small I can do, but it’s something worth doing. There is so much in the UK that isn’t mentioned, even specifically in Scotland, I was never taught about the “merchant traders” of Glasgow. I’ve lived in Scotland all my life and at no point was taught about the tobacco lords, the colonisation of the US, the transatlantic slave trade, none of it. So it is back to me, I can’t refuse to educate myself when the gaps in history have been so blatantly pointed out. I can’t live in ignorance, blaming a flawed education system for my complicity.
There are so many names that I didn’t know that I should have. Some I heard about but did not investigate, like Sheku Bayoh, Mark Duggan, Sean Rigg, Sarah Reed. Others I had no idea about, and am only just educating myself on. Christopher Adler, Smiley Culture, Jimmy Mubenga, Michael Powell, Leon Briggs, Ricky Bishop, Brian Douglas, Joy Gardner,Leon Patterson, Cynthia Jarrett, Cherry Groce, Derek Bennett, Kingsley Burrell, Roger Sylvester, Azelle Rodney, Habib Ullah, Faruk Ali, Adrian Thompson, Jean Charles de Menezes, Demetre Frazer, Aston McLean, Seni Lewis, Anthony Grainger, Rocky Bennett, Alton Manning, Mark Nunes.
This list I discovered from @sarzworld on Instagram.
I was at a protest yesterday. I feel privileged to be able to hear experiences from such wonderful people. I am glad I could lend my support by going, and continuing learning and educating myself. I hope there are more that I can support. No justice, no peace.
I am also single. As if everything else wasn’t enough. Not much to talk about here. Honestly I’m relieved, which I feel so guilty for, I never realised I wasn’t happy until I realised that. It’s been a few weeks, it is getting easier.
I’ll sign off here. Updates will come later with book progress and Black Lives Matter info as I discover more.