There’s work to be done.
It was like the perfect storm—COVID-19 kept most of us at home, just waiting to see what the world would bring us next. And that waiting had us watching a lot more news—the other places we got our information had all but dried up. Maybe that’s why the image of a Black man being choked to death by a police officer kneeling on his neck for nearly nine minutes affected us as much as it did—because we had nowhere else to look.
And we all know what happened next.
Protests. Riots. A call to action to not just avoid being racist, but to stand firmly against it if we ever want a chance at a more equal future.
But then what? What happens when this all cools down and we look to go back to whatever normal looks like nowadays? Will these issues of discrimination and inequality still be at the forefront of our minds, or put on the back burner as they have so many times before? That’s what’s we worry about as a Black community—that despite all this, nothing will ever change.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. If we choose to change the way we do things now, we give ourselves a shot at a future that might make sense instead of looking to justify all the madness going on today.
Let’s talk about three easy ways you can work at being a better ally and taking a firm stance against racism.
1) Call out discrimination everywhere you see it and hear it
Even in 2020, there are people who insult and stereotype people who are different than them when they feel they’re in a safe space. The number of times I’ve had friends tell me things they hear from others just because they share the same background is alarming—we have to hold each other accountable when we know we’re doing wrong… we can’t expect the victims to do all the explaining.
2) Nip our stereotyping in the bud—cut it off at the SOURCE
It’s easy to point the faults out in others, but we need to keep on top of our own biases and learn to grow past them wherever we can.
The young Black boy with his hood up on the train need not be up to no good—he could just be on the way home after a long day and wants to be left alone. The well-dressed Black woman in the luxury boutique doesn’t have to be an employee—she could be a lawyer fitting some shopping in on her lunch break. The sooner that we understand that Black people live just like everybody else does with some cultural adjustments, the sooner we build up a world where Blackness doesn’t make life so much harder.
3) Bring more Black people into your life… but let THEM do the talking
Finally, it’s a lot harder to be racist when you keep a diverse social circle around you—if you don’t have any Black people that you speak with regularly, it might be time that you found some. But with all the trauma these last few weeks have riled up, it might be days, weeks, or even longer ’til they’re ready to talk—the most important thing is that you’ll be there to listen when they are!
Black Lives Matter. But Black VOICES do, TOO.
The Black experience and everything that comes with it is immensely complicated and can leave you not knowing what you can do to help, but you’re not going to solve centuries of issues overnight. We need to take small, intentional steps towards building the world we want to live in if we want those changes to last.
One day at a time, friends. Thanks for reading.
Casey is a Canadian Dad from Toronto, Ontario who shares his fatherhood journey at Casey Palmer, Canadian Dad, one of the few places to find fatherhood content in the Great White North. He shares his story because it’s different. He’s a Black father. He comes from a multiracial family. His family’s an urban family, looking to thrive in the city rather than run out to the suburbs like so many families have before them.