Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Supporting Black Rights as a Clueless White Girl.


I am a white, middle class, privileged and educated young woman whose surrounding area has a black population of approximately 0.1%.

My only troubles are those of past anxiety disorders and an overbearing sense of the black hole of the rest of my existence. I face discrimination as a woman, technically, but my own experience as a feminist comes from wanting to ensure the life of equality I lead within my family and amongst friends for other women who suffer far more than I ever will.

In short, I live a relatively care free and happy existence with opportunities (hopefully) laid out in abundance before me if I choose to get my act together and pursue a path with passion and enthusiasm. That is all I need to do for myself. I have unbending support from my family and friends and teachers and, even, society. Mostly I fit into what society would like as an ideal: White, Middle Class, Heterosexual, Cisgender, Eloquent, Polite. I could go to anywhere in North America and most likely be welcomed - before I opened my mouth and said something liberal, socialist or radical in some areas - and I would certainly not face any trouble with the police unless it was warranted.

I would not be singled out, ridiculed, or even hated by an upsettingly large group of people for absolutely no reason whatsoever. I would not be shot in the back for my skin colour without even holding a weapon myself. No one could come up with a name laden with a history of a dark, dark oppression and brutal slavery to lower and undermine my being. I would not have to fear the authorities whose sole purpose is to 'protect me'. I would not be sectioned by history and society to live in one area with my people because I would be received with hospitality anywhere I went. I would not still be facing a looming and obvious discrimination in the place of my birth for the way that I looked.

I would be allowed to exist as a human with a right to liberty in the constrained and often misconstrued sense of the word. I would be absolutely fine and dandy because I am white. Setting aside issues I may otherwise face as a woman I would be safe and looked after. I would not be essentially dehumanised by a system of oppression against what I am and where I come from.

Frankly what I am trying to say, in a rather long winded manner, is that I can never truly understand the suffering and the fear and the injustice that black people face in America - and sometimes here too - in a first hand way. I have no right to question those in the middle of the movement against racism because I cannot know how awful, how agonising, how frustrating it is. I cannot say to black women that I am in the same boat because how dare I even begin to think that our situations are similar. As women we will face discrimination for our gender, as black women they will face an agenda against their existence.

Therefore my only issue is this: I struggle to know how to truly support anti-racism movements. I do not want to offend, belittle, or patronise a people who know discrimination in a 'free land' like no other. But I support and believe in their battle and rights with my whole heart. I will stand with them, or just on the outside in encouragement if it is not my place to shout out. I am wholly revolted by the bitter and poisonous racism that exists in frightening quantities in today's 'liberated' west.

I will express my utter distaste for any form of racism openly for really it is all I have the ability to do and I will fully support those who are still afflicted with a deadly prejudice. I will just stand in solidarity with those who still suffer for it is -  in the way of black and white, good and bad - the right thing to do.