More Lockdown thoughts

My last post was about politics and how polarised people seem to be nowadays.

I’ve also been thinking about lots of other things, two of which are Entitlement and Black Lives Matter. I’ll leave entitlement for another day, but I thought I’d write a bit about the BLM movement today, as I’ve had to snooze or remove a few Facebook ‘friends’ lately because of their views on this. The thing is, I support BLM wholeheartedly. I ‘get’ that I am living with privilege because I’m white and I understand that black people have lived with prejudice most of their lives. I want to try and get the message out to others, although I am limited in my partially shielded ‘chemo’ world.

I have been incensed by the views of people I thought I knew and others who were acquaintances that I clearly didn’t know at all. It started quite mildly with them making the statement ‘All lives matter’. At first, I was a bit indulgent with this and tried to explain that this goes without saying, but the current situation calls for us to shout out that black lives matter too! Like the suffragette movement, when it was imperative that the women’s movement were supported, this is a movement where we may stand a chance of improving the lives of so many black citizens and that the purpose of BLM is not at all to say that black lives matter more, but that they matter as much as white lives. Why do people not see that?

I deplore injustice, and to watch and hear stories from black people in the USA particularly who ensure discrimination in so many ways is abhorrent. Here in the UK it is also a problem, and though not as overtly so, I can see what happens in the world. I’m not blind or stupid (I hope). There is a definite undercurrent of racism among the white population, as there is sexism among the male population (I’ll spout about that one another day too!)

Here in the quiet north of England, in the countryside, there are not too people of any ethnicity other than white. I think that breeds ignorance of the issues, as of course, many people living here will never encounter a black or Asian person, make friends with them, learn about their culture – if it’s different from ours. So views are old-fashioned, judgemental and incorrect. It’s mostly racism of ignorance here, as opposed to outright hateful discrimination in cities – I have seen both. I’m not saying that one type of racism is better, but here it’s ‘closet’ racism.

I wish I hadn’t been so indulgent regarding the All lives matter stuff of my ‘friends’. Because it’s moved on since then and now these people think they can start to be a bit more vocal about how White lives matter. They are angry about the tearing down of statues, about the demonstrations, about how their little England is being changed forever. And they make me mad! I can’t say I agree completely with everything that’s happening. I can see why younger people are into Cancel Culture, but while I agree that removing a few statues isn’t a bad thing if they represent some hateful slave owner from the past, I don’t think that we should erase that history altogether. If we lose the sense of history around people, both good and bad, how will we avoid repeating those same mistakes in the future? It’s good to remember the awful things that have been done in the name of humanity, if only so that we never forget those atrocities.

But, getting back to my ‘friends’. I’ve had to remove several of them from the Facebook connections. Trump supporters, All (white) Lives matter officianados, keep Britain British idiots…. And yes, I could have argued with them on social media, but I would never win. I’m not a keyboard warrior when it comes to arguing with those types, they just keep going and going until I’m exhausted. So my preference is just not to read what they write, and try to get the message across by posting kinder, more tolerant and inclusive stuff.

I admire people who make a stand for their cause, whatever that cause might be (as long as it’s a just cause). So when I read that viewers had complained in their droves about the performance of Diversity on the TV, I was so angry. It proves yet again that the BLM movement is necessary – good on those dancers for using the platform to bring the issue to our attention. My hope is their message will start to filter though in the younger generation at least.

I’ve had a debate recently with the committee on a charity that I’m involved with about the use of certain words in our group. Words that have become sensitive in the modern world and I’ve proposed changing slightly to be more inclusive. I was aghast at the reaction when I proposed it. Several of them threatened to leave the committee if ever the changes were even proposed – they don’t see the issue with leaving things as they are now. Of course they don’t – they are all speaking from a position of white privilege, the terminology won’t affect or offend them, so what’s the problem? My problem is that I want to consider everyone and if the words we use affect even one black person, then I want to change them. Language evolves, people evolve (damn slowly in this case) so let’s be ahead of the game and just include everyone in our philosophy.

I’m sorry if all the above makes me sound ‘goody-goody’. I’m not, and I make mistakes like everyone, but I like to think I would treat a person exactly the way they wish to be treated whatever race, colour or religion they are. I will keep trying to convince others do do the same.

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