Racism in 2020 towards Asians has increased globally, but most people have been silent. The systemic oppression of Black people occurs everyday, and yet it took the gruesome murder of George Floyd going viral for people to take action. Of course, there are many who have been speaking up about these issues for some time. This short poem reflects and expresses my personal feelings about these issues. It is not a poem to breed any hate, but to express frustrations, and the want for people to genuinely ‘stand by’ people of colour, (POC), and Black Asian Minority Ethnic, (BAME) individuals everyday.
“It is not enough to be non-racist, we must be anti-racist” – Angela Davis. Right now, many are protesting against systemic oppression in support of Black Lives Matter, often using techniques in defence against police brutality inspired by those techniques used in Hong Kong. People are using leaf-blowers, umbrellas, and traffic cones to defend themselves against teargas! I was speaking to family about the HK pro-democracy protests, and one of them said to me, “when I first came to the UK, I thought it was going to be different, I thought, ‘here is a place of freedom’, but here is just as bad”. Our family has experienced much racism here in the UK, and due to the outbreak of coronavirus, this has become more so for all Chinese appearing individuals. When BAME and POC face much discrimination, and then we really need to ask ourselves ‘do all lives matter?’, and yes they should. However, the reality is that not all lives are given equal value, and are systemically oppressed. Not all people treat BAME and POC as equal.
So what can we do?
– challenge racism everyday.
– show solidarity on social media, and beyond this.
– protest (although right now be super responsible about this, and realise that the ability to protest is a privilege in itself).
– donate to the people, organisations, and grassroots movements affected by and/or fighting to put an end to racism.
– Educate yourself if you are a white person, and don’t expect POC and BAME individuals to do this for you, we don’t owe you an explanation or the emotional labour.
– Listen to and support POC and BAME individuals in everyday life.
– Check your privilege.
– Write to MPs.
– Sign petititions.
– Find creative ways to do activism, and build communities and safe spaces.
All Lives Can’t Matter until Black Lives Matter.
Follow these links for more information and actions in support of #blacklivesmatter and against racism: https://docs.google.com/document/d/10… https://blacklivesmatter.com/ https://www.goodhousekeeping.com/life… https://www.npr.org/sections/goatsand… https://greenandblackcross.org/guides…
Music in video: Algorithms by Chad Crouch, from the Free Music Archive, CC BY.