I think we can all agree that we are living through extremely difficult times. Everywhere we look in society we are faced with adversity. 2020 has really turned into what feels like an everlasting episode of Black Mirror. And it's hard to ignore the very real effects our environment has on us.
A couple of nights ago I could not sleep at all, which luckily for me, is extremely out of character. Every time I shut my eyes and lay my head down on my pillow, my mind raced about wanting to explore and dwell on everything happening outside of me. Since 2016 when Trump was elected and the people of Britain voted to leave the EU, for me at least, the world has seemed escalate downward into complete maelstrom. It seems as though the world we live in is falling apart and we are doomed to extinction or a future I simply do not want to live in. However I have realised, this feeling emanates from hubris. It is foolish to think I can predict where our lives are heading. whilst it might seem like a descent into a chaos, the reality of it might be that it is more an ascension into the unknown.
We cannot ignore the injustice which is going on all around us. The outright racism and police brutality but also the sneaky institutionalised racism deeply ingrained in our society and government. The oppression of LGBTQ+ communities as they repurpose our flag, the deceit and skulduggery perpetrated by our POTUS, the absolutely laughable attempt of Boris Johnson to 'govern' the UK and guide us through this pandemic, are all seemingly evidence of a corrupt world and one which I simply cannot align with.
No matter who you are, this is a stressful time. If you are on the side of the oppressor, it is stressful. If you are being oppressed, it is stressful. Everybody is in their own world of turmoil. And whilst I am not advocating that we, by any means, give sympathy or allow any kind of discrimination or unjust behaviour, I am proposing that we are more mindful of one another's inner worlds. When I say this I am particularly referring to the way we treat one another online.
During this lockdown, the majority of our socialisation has been done online, through social media. A way of interaction which very easily overlooks the most important part of socialising. In these times especially, it is important to show that you are there for one another, and you are willing to help each other. We can all be quick to put ourselves on a pedestal on these egoic online spaces and demand that people step up to our level of activism, or wisdom, or whatever the damn trend is. And that isn't fair. It might be obvious that I am referring to the general message which has swept my instagram feed in the past few days which is to post about the race problem we have. I agree, use your online space to educate one another, help one another. But do not make the space anymore exclusive than it already is. Some people don't live vicariously through social media, and others are only living through social media at this time. And that's ok. I don't see how putting down others or taking a forceful approach towards this situation is at all useful. People don't generally react well to commands from their equals, people deserve respect and genuine encouragement. I know we are all outraged and and very passionate about what is going on, which is great. But it is not helpful to get mad at people, especially if they are on your side.
Ive seen a lot of people saying you cannot be anti-racist in private. But not posting on social media isn't being anti-racist in private. It baffles me that people somehow seem to forget that we have lives outside of social media. Like I said I understand that everyone uses social media differently, and especially during lockdown, I'm sure we have come to use it a lot more. However, personally, and I don't believe I am alone when I say this, social media is among the top three things that have been detrimental to my mental health. And this outbreak of outrage online has exemplified my toxic relationship to it. I know that being apolitical is a privilege in itself. However, if you think that this situation which is occurring around the world is detrimental to your mental health or is upsetting you too much at this moment, don't worry. Take the time you need for yourself. We need emotionally confident, stable, wise comrades right now. We don't need people who have been peer pressured or bullied into protesting. because that's futile. Obviously if you are well enough to post your breakfast or outfit or any other trivial pursuit on your social media then I expect to also see you using that space you have online to try and resurrect justice. Step outside of yourself for a moment. But if you need to take the time away from online spaces in order to work on yourself then by all means, social media silence is not cowardly and I still respect you.
Please can we remember that social media is not the real world. Not everybody uses it. Not everybody gets on well with it and I respect those who don't live the majority of their lives online just as I respect those who do live mainly online. Any form of living is commendable in our day and age.
Frankly this is an opinion piece of writing which holds no more value than anyone else's thoughts and feelings, nonetheless I felt it might be useful or relevant to share it with you and hope someone finds comfort in it. What I know is more valuable though are resources. Resources to donate, educate, raise awareness, protest, to use your voice to help fight in this battle. Whether you are practicing your confidence for the next time you get confronted with casual racism at the dinner table, or if you are organising a fundraiser to donate to bail funds, you're efforts are valuable and equal. Please just do your best. Hopefully this collection of resources will be useful to you no matter what you are personally working on and I urge you to do everything in your power to help.
Donate for free
A black woman named Zoe Amira posted this long video full of art and music from black creators. The video has a ton of ads and will rack up lots of ad revenue which will be donated. DO NOT SKIP THE ADS. You don't even have to listen just turn the sound down and keep the video running. If you watch it more than once click off the video and click back onto it. I would recommend watching it though :) - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bCgLa25fDHM&feature=youtu.be
Places to donate
George Floyd memorial fund - https://www.gofundme.com/f/georgefloyd
North Star health collective - https://www.northstarhealthcollective.org/donate
Reclaim the block - https://www.reclaimtheblock.org/home/
Stephen Lawrence trust - https://www.stephenlawrence.org.uk
Know your rights if you are stop and searched - https://y-stop.org
A complaint form to the independent press standards organisation in which you can write a complaint about the daily mail releasing the identity of two 18 year olds who organised the BLM London protests despite their explicit wishes not to be identified. The daily mail has put them in danger. - https://www.ipso.co.uk/complain/complaints-form/
A bunch of instagram posts which have compiled great resources -
Black trans protestors emergency funds - https://www.instagram.com/p/CA9QLgnHOAZ/
Protest advice - https://www.instagram.com/p/CA94iJLJT2Q/
Donation links - https://www.instagram.com/p/CA7nDPwjHsM/
Advice for white people from Emanuel Acho - https://www.instagram.com/p/CA6XUruBYAO/
Resources for allyship - https://www.instagram.com/p/CA6cCsIBFeK/
London BLM protest tips - https://www.instagram.com/p/CA-DmS-pW2b/
Info about Trumps business supporters.. - https://www.instagram.com/p/CA8cDhJBqBr/
A quick guide for white Brits on racism in the UK - https://www.instagram.com/p/CA53Q_WDl9O/?utm_source=ig_web_button_share_sheet
A WHOLE GOODLE DOC FULL OF USEFUL LINKS!! - https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1x65xLdIUDWMUl4_nkuD-EeP98UuJ2nuknUDsqUm7R9s/htmlview?pru=AAABcp3xSBo%2AmZ2ETn_fCJqZ2-5zg8EYhQ
There are so so so many more useful resources out there and you can find them in abundance among social media so look at the hashtags such as BlackLivesMatter!
If you think there are any more really important links or anything that would educate me further, or even if you have a response to my writing then please feel free to enlighten me! Contact me on instagram @sophielmuir or email me firstname.lastname@example.org. I would love to hear from you!
Stay safe, stay strong x