I know you will have seen the news about Charlottesville in America.
I am feeling pretty discombobulated and still processing what is unfolding before our very eyes, but I wanted to impart a few words.
We are not powerless.
If we all admit it, we all know racial hatred has always been there, it is a residue from our history with slavery that is part of our make up, that has not yet left us, recently given momentum by a political climate (both in the UK and US) that is breeding bigotry and hatred right in front of our eyes.
But here’s the thing. At times like this we can feel powerless. However only WE are in control of whether we spiral further into hatred and divide, or not. I don’t wish to devalue such a complex issue by simplifying it, but it really is up to us.
I’ve seen such unpleasant spouts on social media about one side wishing the other were dead and vice versa. By wanting another dead, how does that make us any better? And there lies the problem, everyone thinks they are right in a “war” and we end up in an unhealthy and vicious cycle. As Dr King said, “Hatred cannot drive out hatred”.
This is learned behaviour, we can unlearn it.
Make no mistake, racial hatred goes on right here in the UK too – it’s more closeted and embedded into so many structural systems, which makes it feel less palpable, or harder to detect. But it’s there.
Everyone tries to find comfort by saying “oh it was only the minority. The majority don’t feel this way”.
However this has been proven in history time and time again, that the majority are irrelevant, if the majority remain silent, this is what happens; the minority gather fast and dangerous momentum.
So, we must first recognise and then use our power and privilege to challenge this untenable discourse.
I had two amazing friends, anti-racist peaceful protestors stand up to this face-to-face in America yesterday, to white supremacists laden with guns and weapons shouting “hail hitler” in their faces…. in 2017.
Heather Heyer’s was another peaceful protestor, just 32 who stood up to racism all her life. She was tragically killed by a Neo Nazi / White Supremacist. Her tragic death is a painful reminder of how divided we have become.
To Heather Heyer, to Jen and Carly and everyone else brave enough to stand up to racism at its worst. Thank you for being remarkable human beings and incredible allies to try to help the human race evolve.
I am even more fired up now to make a difference and help eradicate structural racism while I am alive and on this earth. What happened and is happening is not serving us and whether we like it or not, it is causing society to regress. We are better than this.
If what is happening is resonating with you on some level and you want to find out your part, your power and your responsibility in moving society forward, I invite you to join me at a timely keynote session in London on the 31st August. I am unapologetically delving into race perception, our own prejudices, bias and more. This class is ‘dressed up’ for creatives, but the topics I shall be covering on race and diversity and are entirely universal. Wether we want to believe it or not, this “stuff” permeates into our subconscious, into our behaviour, life, relationships, business. Absolutely Everything.
We are in control, but first we need understanding, then we need to heighten our self-awareness and educate ourselves and our communities first.
Be the change you want to see.
NB: A GoFund Me campaign has been created for and in memory of Heather Heyer https://www.gofundme.com/our-sisters-keeper-heatherheyer