There’s a lot at the moment. For anyone with a good heart, there’s a lot weighing heavy in our hearts and on our minds.
While race dictates our individual experience of what is happening in the world right now, we are united in feeling despair at the wickedness that’s still – still – alive and well.
I recognise that as a white woman, I live a privileged life. I don’t have to be rich or successful for that to be true – merely being born white qualifies me as privileged.
I, as many others in my position, want to show my support for those being persecuted based on nothing more than an arbitrary circumstance of birth. We’re wary of getting it wrong, which makes some of us passive. It’s not through a lack of care; rather the fear of being singled out as racist for making a well-intentioned yet misguided mistake.
I understand that the responsibility of being educated on the subject of racism belongs to us; it’s not on the marginalised groups to do that for us – we need to be proactive in being more aware. I like to think if the intention is good we won’t be torn apart for getting it wrong.
It’s uncomfortable to stand up and campaign about something that doesn’t directly affect us, to be conspicuous and make ourselves heard in the name of a vital cause – whilst knowing we might not get it right and we may be vilified for it.
Nevertheless, we must.
That feeling of discomfort is something our less privileged counterparts have to live with every day. In order to try to keep them safe, they have to destroy the innocence of their babies, by teaching them that there are people who wish them harm.
This week I took away a piece of my five year old daughter’s innocence by explaining a little about this to her. It’s the least I can do, knowing she will never face those prejudices herself.
To make an effort to put myself in the shoes of those less privileged than myself, the nearest experience I can draw on is being female. Women (and girls) have to be aware of the threat of men almost our entire lives. It’s just the way it is and something we have to learn to live with as fact. It’s despicable, and infuriating if we think too hard about it.
But we will never be killed by a police officer because of our gender.
And I don’t imagine many will be outraged at the suggestion that women and girls have to be on high alert to predators, despite the fact that of course boys and men can also be victims.
We need to do better. We need to find the courage to do better.
If enough of us accept and take on a small piece of discomfort, over time that amplifies, and we have to hope that it will lead to chipping away small pieces of the hate and prejudice in the world.