How Is This Still Happening in the 21st Century?
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It’s been a hell of a few weeks, hasn’t it?
The death of George Floyd sent absolute shock-waves through the world and as we feel the outrage and express our collective grief as humans, there’s really one question that we can’t seem to answer – how is this still happening in the 21st century?
Again and again and again…
This isn’t the first black person who has been killed by the police in the States, and it’s not the first time we’ve been exposed to such police brutality. But it did take a public lynching-by-knee to go viral for us (white people) to finally take notice and stop ignoring what we’ve known for a long time.
Photo by Life Matters on Pexels.com
As the African-American community exploded over the injustice, Lindalin and I, much like the rest of the white world, started forming opinions on the #BlackLivesMatter protests – and for once, we had to agree to disagree.
Lindalin condemns the looting and subsequent violence. As the people grow angrier, the mobs are taking to the streets and vandalising everything in sight, breaking into buildings and in some cases attacking shop owners protecting their stores.
To me, it’s just dickheads taking advantage… – Lindalin, Ep #50
Of course this is never right. And I understand what Lindalin is saying. I agree with her when she says that violence doesn’t solve violence.
I also understand that we will never understand how it would feel for generations and generations of our people to be sold into slavery, oppressed, beaten, killed, lynched, spat on, sworn at… all for the colour of our skin.
So I agree with Lindalin that the violence and the looting aren’t right.
I just see where it’s all coming from. As a collective, African-American people are angry and they have every right to be so. And if I were in their position, you bet your ass I’d be throwing bricks through the streets in protest.
I may not be racist, but I’m also not listening.
I consider myself a wonderful listener, I really do. Maybe the problem isn’t that I’m not listening, rather that I haven’t been paying a lot of attention to the things I’m hearing.
I’ve had plenty of friends tell me that they’ve been on the receiving end of racial attacks. I was with an Asian friend once who was cussed at by some drunk asshole, telling her to go back to her own country – that would be Melbourne, Australia – and never once turning his attention to the white woman with her (me) who actually had a country to go back to.
My very own husband has expressed discomfort in speaking Chinese with our kids in public because of the way people react to him.
“Wow! Well done you, teaching that European language to those little Asians!”
Meanwhile, when I speak Yugoslav to my kids, I always feel like I get praise for it. Like, “Wow! Well done you, teaching that European language to those little Asians!”
So it’s not that the stories aren’t there. It’s just that, well… it just doesn’t happen to me. Not really. Not ever. So I really think racism doesn’t exist.
And that, my friends, is white privilege.
“You can be okay – but I have to be exceptional.”
If you take anything away from this, think about the fact that us white people can move on from the Stolen Generations and the murders of African-American people with ease because it doesn’t effect us directly.
But don’t be that guy. Be considerate. Learn about it. Educate yourself and more importantly – educate your children. Teach them better. Teach them what our parents didn’t. Raise a better generation, a generation that will give equal opportunity to all and celebrate the differences between us, not use that difference to create divide.
Just… don’t be a dick.
If you would like to share your stories and experiences with racism, we’d love to hear from you, so hit us up in the comments or contact us.
Love and peace to you all, and look out for one another.
Episode #50 of Wine Chats with Bildo & Lindalin was proudly sponsored by Sense of Taste.