An Introverted Actress

Black Lives Matter

Black Lives Matter

There are people currently treating that statement as if it's a controversial thing to say. "But ALL lives matter!". I roll my eyes now but I was one of those people maybe 5/6 years ago. I didn't get it. I didn't get feminism either. I just wanted peace and happiness for all. I didn't understand the aggression or even the need for movements that caused protests and riots. I often found myself turning into that girl from Mean Girls. 

I'd never seen the effects of racism or sexism in person back then. Not really. If I had it had been so minor I hadn't understood that that's what was playing out. It had all been so casual it had gone under my radar and I'd seen it as people being rude and not for what it actually was. I actually remembered recently with a pang of guilt, shame and regret that I said something racist when I was about eleven. I didn't understand what I was saying at the time. I was parroting something an adult I trusted had said and thought I was starting a very grown up conversation. The worst thing is my black friend agreed with what I had said and if I could go back and explain to the both of us why what I had said was so wrong, teach myself never to say stuff like that and her never to tolerate it...or just punch myself squarely in the face, I would. 

I say all this as if I'm leading up to a big story where something happened to me, specifically, that finally opened my eyes. The reality is, I just got tired of being ignorant. I got tired of not understanding. I got tired of seeing yet another name, yet another hashtag and yet another young black life taken. I'd see the rioting, the looting, the speeches, the protests and so I made an effort to start reading and listening. So, when I was about twenty-three, I got it. I began to get angry. I started to listen and watch closer. I saw it all for what it was and my YouTuber ass got my camera out and I made a video called 'Black Lives Matter'. I filmed it all, I edited it all, I tweeted something along the lines of supporting the movement and then...I got scared.  A flurry of white supremacists jumped into my timeline through the hashtag I had used and began a tirade of hatred for even uttering the idea that Black lives could be equal to their own. Twenty-three year old me wasn't prepared and I am truly ashamed of never uploading that video. It often floats into my brain and I feel let down by myself all over again. How dare I be scared? A white privileged female who's never known racism. How dare I not use my privilege to speak up? I've been quietly supporting for the last few years. By quietly, what I really mean is offline. I've been vocal to family and friends, giving to charities that focus on helping black communities, listening to my black friends and defending them when casual racism was used against them but the biggest tool at my disposal, my audience and my platform, remained untouched. That's the thing when you're white. You can sweep it under the rug. You have the choice not to think about the racism in the world. You're able to hide behind the colour of your skin and know you won't be harmed and it won't come to your front door. But how can we live with ourselves if we shut our eyes and stick our fingers in our ears? Is that who we want to be? Is that who I want to be?

If you're white it's very likely you've benefitted from white privilege and therefore racism and if you're a decent human being that's going to make you feel terrible. It's that guilt, I've found, that either makes people so uncomfortable they hide away and stay silent or it makes you angry and vocal. That's why I believe so many of my white friends are currently silent. Or they don't understand the extent of the current global climate or they just don't know how to help. I refuse to believe the people I know and love, who I believe to be good people are silent because they're on the wrong side of history. I hope I'm right and I vow to do my best to educate and encourage them to break their silence.

It is a horrible feeling knowing that anything we do as individuals will never amount to nearly enough but we need to all step up in order to make a big difference and a big change. 

Here are some places to donate to: 

Here's an article listing essential reading following the George Floyd murder.

And I highly recommend following these anti-racist accounts. 

I'm going to be holding a Harry Potter themed quiz on YouTube on Sunday 6th June to raise money for NAACP. If you join in with the quiz, please donate and share. I'd love to raise at least £1000. I'm currently raising money for The Bail project on my latest YouTube video which can be found here. I've also asked that my fee for the West End Warble workshop I'll be doing on June 14th be donated to Black Lives Matter and a portion of my Cameo proceeds have already been and will continue to be donated to some of the charities listed above. 

Black Lives Matter. Say it. It's not controversial. It's correct


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