By Tasha Dowman
Black Lives Matter is trending, and whilst many understand why this is the case, there is a question as to how we can effectively tackle this issue. This blog aims to challenge current reactions to the BLM movement and provide an alternative approach to ultimately tackling white supremacy and institutionalised, systematic racism.
As a Black Female, the BLM Movement is near and dear to my heart. The Police killing black people is a horrific, violent way of bludgeoning the black race into inferiority and submission. Racial profiling and discrimination are wrong on all counts – we all know this. So, I ask, how is repeating information we already know going to help?
People taking to the streets to publicly demonstrate around the world is a beautiful sight to see, mainly because it shows many different races uniting to stand up against the oppressor. A united nation is a strong nation. The term “silence is complicity” is relevant – but to a certain degree. Think about it – how effective is posting about how upset you or everyone else is? Will it change things? Will it save people? No, it probably will not.
My take on the violence is that it was bound to happen. Take a pack of endangered animals, for instance – you encage them and beat them into submission day in, day out. The majority will submit and succumb to the oppressor. However, there is always a case in which an animal fights back – and this is what is happening today. People are finally taking a stance against the injustices that have been encaging and beating blameless black beings into inferiority for centuries. It is human instinct to fight against whatever is imposing a threat against us. Black people have faced the violent outcome of that threat for centuries. As an onlooker, I can see that the violent protests have been effective and somewhat needed in allowing the world to take the BLM movement more seriously. Attentional bias studies have proven that the average person reacts more to a threat of violence than they do to something non-threatening or non-violent. Hence, this suggests that violent protesting is more successful in grabbing attention and creating change than peaceful protests. It has been proven countless times in history that when we show power in unity, that is when the world stops and listens.
Stealing from Target and other shops, however, is, in my opinion, stupid, opportunistic, and problematic. Those committing these offences are only giving the Media a reason to demonise, incriminate, and label those who are peacefully protesting as “thugs” (although I am sure they would have done so regardless). How is stealing a TV going to help save the person beside you being beat down by a Police Officer?
My point is, we are living in insanity. Repeating the same acts and expecting a different result. Learning from history that we do not learn from history. Doing the same thing repeatedly in an ever-innovative cycle of mistakes. This will not achieve different results.
We need to be smarter with how we fight back. This goes much deeper than simple surface-based racism. White supremacy is based on breaking down BAME spiritual and cultural heritages, making us forget the riches of Africa and, instead, replacing such notions with falsely idolised, Western ideals. It is based on stripping us from our Blackness, discriminating against our hair, and how we speak. Colonising India and stripping her of valuable resources. Forcing us to learn English. Giving us English names.
The BAME community needs to beat white supremacy at its own game. It needs to understand the different agents of the State and the connection between each agent and institutionalised racism and white supremacy. Racism descends from the Home Office, down through the Court Systems, Prisons, and finally reaches the Police. Because of this, the Police are used as the Pawns of the State to inflict systematic and operational racism that has been imposed from higher up in the social hierarchy. This system of oppression was designed to halt the societal progression of the BAME community and, as such, uphold white supremacy.
This system needs to be infiltrated by educating ourselves to a point where we can progress into workforces that inflict systemised racism and racial bias. Once it has been infiltrated, it can then be overthrown, or at least begin to make changes from within to slowly eradicate it overtime.
Rioting, protesting, posting online… these are all good in practice, not only to expose systemised racism on social media platforms but to spread awareness. If the world did not know about the Black Lives Matter Movement, they know about it now. However, how effective will this be in prohibiting systemised racism in the long run and as a whole? Trump will gun down civilians before he prosecutes one of his own for the murders they have committed against the BAME community. Partaking in these practices will only go so far…
So, I suggest the following:
Get into politics.
If you choose to study Law, do something with it – become a lawyer that protects black people from institutionalised and systematic racism.
If you are going to work for the State, use your profession to help educate and protect. For instance, become a Police Officer that helps eliminate racially biased practices in operational, police force dealings.
Educate yourself on BAME History, especially if you are of BAME descent or have friends/family that fall into this category.
If you do not belong to the BAME community, speak to your BAME friends and family.
Understand how they feel, what their concerns are, and what they struggle with concerning their place in society. Better understanding leads to better support that you can offer them. This way, we can begin to create a world that is more inclusive of all races and people from different walks of life. It all starts with you.