Where to start…
I feel naive.
As a white man, I am, by default, privileged – fact. All my life my privilege has been taken for granted. My context on life and the life struggles of others has been through the lens of a white man and it’s been very easy to ignore the real struggles and injustice of others that I will never ever experience myself. I don’t live in fear of being accused of something I haven’t done; I don’t have to second guess what others may think about me or make assumptions about what I’m doing if I’m walking through town at night. I don’t have to think about it and never will.
This is a very privileged existence that millions of others will never enjoy.
It's time to wake up and look in the mirror.
Sweeping the history of systematic black subjugation under the carpet is a crime against humanity and needs to be called out. I felt so naïve reading about the statue of Edward Colston being brought down – how on earth can a statue celebrating a slave trader still be standing in 2020?
Ignoring racism because it doesn’t appear to directly affect us is no longer an option. Rolling our eyes when we overhear a racist comment or racist behaviour is no longer an option. Accepting it as a “generation thing” is no longer an option. We need to call it out in others and call it out in ourselves so we can all (to quote from blacklivesmatter.com) be "guided by the fact that Black lives matter, regardless of actual or perceived sexual identity, gender identity, gender expression, economic status, ability, disability, religious beliefs or disbeliefs, immigration status, or location."
I feel proud that Stratford Upon Avon will today be the host of a Black Lives Matter march. What makes me even prouder is that it’s been organised and driven by a new generation of politicised young people who have an ability to self-educate and form unfiltered political views. This new generation is so often the voice of reason and equality, and I think we should all listen more.
I’m not going to announce something we can’t deliver on or run a campaign to donate to something (yet) as I simply don’t know enough or feel educated enough for that to be authentic. What I do know though is that the current marches and protests have inspired more of us to stop, think and educate ourselves on how hundreds of years of suppression based on skin colour and race has become normalised and ingrained into our subconscious thinking. It's simply wrong.
We won’t change the world overnight because this problem runs deep, very deep.
But, all problems have solutions.
Solutions are usually uncomfortable.
Time to get uncomfortable.
(Simon, Yorks Café)
Thank you to Ellie Pryor for the artwork.