When George Floyd was murdered in broad daylight, communities immediately took to the streets and raged against a crooked system designed to protect officers from repercussions of brutal actions. The nucleus may be in America, however, the issue exists globally.
As a person of colour who was adopted into a Caucasian family, I grew up in rural white towns with a childhood drenched in racial actions. Name-calling at school started in the primary years. Bullying by the nastiest of teenage girls. Talked down to by the whitest of privileged teachers. I was subjected to racism everywhere I went. Including my own home where racial jokes were a commonality shared easily and seemingly loved by all around the dinner table.
Racism is everywhere and it is deafening in the silence that people hide behind.
Throughout the global uprising where people marched the streets to stand against racism and police brutality, I’ve seen countless white friends dedicate a ‘textbook ONE post’ with a ‘textbook link to a donation page’ with 2 or 3 sentences on how they will “put their money where the hashtags are”. Then the comments roll in from 5 friends all praising their effort and their mama saying how proud she is. And then that’s it. The efforts go quiet, their work is done, they’ve waved the flag of unity and it’s back to business as usual.
I’m here to tell you, your ONE post isn’t enough.
Let’s dissect this and think about it for a minute. WHY is a single flair of attention not enough?
Your single piece of content, while yes it did draw in the attention of 5 comments and 22 likes, also perpetuates the wider silence on the backend. Your basic attention in a flicker of supportive action represents normalcy to others in your network. “Becky did a great post, I’m going to post as well” And then what happens when YOU go quiet? The social profiles from those 22 people and 5 comments that praised you earlier, go silent as well.
You have to keep talking. If you really want to make an impact, you have to believe that you can. You need to view your actions as long standing and do the work as such. That ONE post on your page and TWO donations to the movement doesn’t earn your ‘White Ally’ badge. This isn’t Girl Guides or Cub Scouts.
I get that you don’t know what to say. That’s ok. It’s completely understandable that you may be concerned about saying the wrong thing. Keep going. Find a truthful news source, read articles written by people on the ground, connect with someone else who is dedicated to the deep dive of investigative reporting. Keep sharing that content.
Additionally, and equally relevant, if the majority of your news is from your FB or IG feeds, you’re doing it wrong. Remember who owns these social platforms and how content is distributed. It’s a marionette puppet show where the strings are planned algorithms, finely tuned like a radio dial.
Last night my feed was filled with posts that had nothing to do with current affairs. Many of the posts were from several days ago. Way more ads were being shown and groups that I haven’t engaged with for months were showcased, yet not one from my American friends. I cross referenced this last point and checked the profiles of American friends for activity. Despite ample recent activity, none was on my newsfeed today.
This morning I scrolled past SEVEN posts of police officers hugging people and taking a knee while the comments praised the glory. Meanwhile, all over Twitter, we see first hand and CURRENT footage of absolute brutality. Know your media sources. Go to them directly. Reports from the ground overrule photos collages shared by the masses.
The fight for equality and the deeper conversation doesn’t end when your feed goes back to fluffy. You are NOT a white ally because you posted one picture with a link to a donation page. Stop being complacent.
You can change your community and help end racism by staying in the game. Keep talking. Keep going.