Updated: Jan 24
As the #BlackLivesMatter movement continues to gain momentum, I've been trying to find ways to use my privilege and platform as a white-passing non-Black POC to advocate and educate on issues that are directly related to anti-Blackness and White Supremacy. It's not only for myself to analyze the ways in which I have perpetuated and/or allowed anti-Blackness and White Supremacy to influence my beliefs and actions, but I feel it's an important way to reframe our thinking so as to address just how integral racism is in allowing the structures we live in to operate and thrive off of the oppression of Black people.
I have been trying to limit any postings to social media to consider what is actionable and helpful rather than self-centered and disruptive to the movement, so in this instance, I tried to rely on history to convey some profoundly disturbing facts. Miscegenation is something i explored a bit in college as I myself am mixed race. I had heard about the racial discrimination my parents experienced early on in their marriage, moving from neighborhood to neighborhood in search of a welcoming, or at least indifferent, community in which to raise a multiracial family in. But I often heard the relics of these stories in the context of "a long time ago." In researching what kinds of policies existed and still exist about miscegenation and how it relates to eugenics, I realized that these issues are not something from a distant past. And their continued perpetuation is still affecting the lives of Black and POC folx.
One of the most popular responses when hard topics of discussion pop up is, "I don't like to get involved in politics." I've heard this from white people, from non-Black POC, from any person who has the privilege to be able to dissociate the political from the personal. But this moment in history does not feel like the moment to disengage. It feels like the moment to lean into the discomfort as we've heard from multiple Black leaders in the movement, to educate yourself on how you can hold yourself accountable and thus create a culture of community accountability, to normalize changing your opinion after learning new information, and to continue growing in a way that forces us to show up, even imperfectly but nevertheless present.
For me, the history of how I came to be is important. We do not exist separately from these "tough issues." We exist because of these "tough issues" and we exist ignorantly if we choose to ignore these "tough issues." If you're able to even call it a "tough issue," you're privileged enough to dissociate yourself, but smart enough to know that these issues are very real and ones you would never choose for yourself.
To support and learn more about the #BlackLivesMatter Movement, please visit the following:
Patrisse Cullors, Co-Founder of BLM
Alicia Garza, Co-Founder of BLM
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