When such an important issue as #BlackLivesMatter is thrust into the mainstream, we can react in different ways. I had no idea how to react. Maybe you feel the same. Why has this been such a difficult issue for me to talk about? Well, mainly because it has become very apparent that despite my love of all people, whatever their ethnicity, I am realising that racism has clouded my outlook in certain cases. I am coming to realise that racism is not just the extreme acts of far right-wing fascists, white supremacists and the like.
For context, I sit in a weird category. I am a privileged, middle-aged, white man from a middle-class background. I can be incredibly naive for a reasonably intelligent person. (Not weird so far. All too common in fact). However, I am to the eye, racially ambiguous. I have experienced vocal and violent racism. I was married to an Indian woman for five years. None of these things means I am not prone to succumbing to racism. I have to accept that racism has existed within me. That racism is a constant battle, not a defined state of mind.
Racism is a broad spectrum of opinions, thoughts and behaviours. Not all of them are extreme. Racism is that unwelcome instinctive thought that pops into your head and leaves you shocked. It is that insidious programming that affects the way you behave to other humans or the choices you make. It can be as simple as the internal reaction to an accent, the choices you make in your private life, or where you choose to sit when entering a room.
There comes a point when silence is not an option, and yet freedom of speech is an issue. In those moments, you have only the truth to share. Here is mine.
#BlackLivesMatter #changefromwithin #facingourtruths