I have procrastinated speaking on the topic of race for a very long time now.
“I don’t feel it’s my place.”
“I don’t know what to say.”
“Why would anyone care what I have to say?”
“Nothing I say will make a difference.”
“The world needs action, not another instagram post.”
“I don’t want to offend anyone.”
“I don’t want my family or friends to roll their eyes at me.”
“I think social media is a shallow, inappropriate place to speak about this stuff.”
“I have too much to say and I don’t know how to say it (and I’m usually good with words).”
“I don’t want to make a political statement about something that might be false.”
“I’d prefer to have 1–1 conversations with people about this stuff.”
“I’m not racist, and I’d always stand up for injustice if I saw it — action speaks louder than words.”
“I’m sure I’ve made racist comments in the past (knowingly and unknowingly) and so what if I’m called out as hypocritical?”
“I’m so hyper-aware of my white-privilege, who am I to talk on this?”
“I’m ashamed for not being more actively involved already — I don’t want to be ‘that person’ that only comes out and speaks when everyone else is.”
I feel ashamed.
As I’ve taken the time to write out all the above excuses, I am so deeply ashamed of myself.
The past week has been surreal. The daily, jarring amber alerts, the constant sirens and helicopters, the relentless, horrific footage on social media feeds…
I’ve felt a sickness in the pit of my stomach and a lump in my throat that I don’t know what to do with. I feel a rage inside me and an overwhelming feeling of helplessness.
And I think I just figured out why —
… it’s because I am a part of the problem.
I realised that if I truely care about what’s happening around me, I can’t just be an observer anymore.
I can’t just listen to podcasts and share things to my instagram story.
But most of all, I can’t just keep trying to ‘avoid conflict’ when a friend or family member so casually says something that is deeply, deeply racist.
Otherwise, I will continue to be a part of the problem.
For now, I promise to continue to educate myself on how I can be an advocate for the oppressed and amplify their voices (using my systemic privilege).
I also want to share a message to my (Australian) friends and family:
I have been scared to call you out on your racism because I love you.
But please know that I am going to challenge myself to speak up when something you say makes me feel uncomfortable. Because when I don’t, I feel ashamed and disgusted that I let it happen.
I will no longer let my love for you be an excuse to stifle the voices of the suppressed and oppressed even more. I want you to have the opportunity to learn that you are wrong and the importance of being informed.
If you don’t think that you are wrong and wish to insist you are not racist, then please, keep your opinion to yourself.
This blog is not meant to be a soap-box of everything I now know and an opportunity to lecture you all that “you should all be speaking up too”.
I am simply trying to challenge myself to get over my fear of being ‘seen’ and being ‘wrong’. Because if I can’t change myself on this small, personal level, how can we expect the mass change that is needed.