As protests circle the globe following the horrific deaths of George Floyd, Tony McDade and Breonna Taylor (the latter two to whom I pay homage because they matter so much, even though it seems to be George’s murder that has raised the global pot to boiling point), I’ve wanted to pass the microphone where I can – so that we can hear voices that matter. I’m about to share a story I saw on Instagram. It was shared by a friend of mine who is educated, intelligent, sophisticated, traffic-stoppingly gorgeous and brown. She is a mother of four mixed-race babies, to whom she gives her heart and soul every day. I am in awe of this woman.
When she posted her own experience of racism in Australia, a move done with much trepidation as its not usually something she speaks about, I had to reshare it (with permission of course).
But before I do, I must quote our esteemed PM, Scott Morrison, who said in an interview on Monday that “There’s no need to import things happening in other countries here to Australia.” He was referring to the Black Lives Matter protests. It is a triggering time for many Australians, as we have had more than 400 indigenous deaths in custody since 1991. One of them,” David Dungay, said “I can’t breathe” 12 times while being restrained by prison guards in 2015. He died, and the video of Floyd’s killing has been traumatic for his family. ” None of the officers have faced consequences.
I raise it to say this isn’t an overseas problem.
And now, on to Laura’s story – reposted with permission.
Muted posts are easy. Anti-Racism work is not. Do the latter.
“I’m about to talk about racism, and the Black Lives Matter movement. I rarely use this space for anything other than our homeschool journey, but I believe the current situation warrants a conversation. If you’d like to pass over this post, feel free to do so.
I’m brown. I’m equal parts Anglo-Indian, Scottish, Welsh, and Polish, but my skin colour is brown, and when I’m asked what nationality I am, what people mean is “What part of your heritage makes you brown?”, so I just say I’m Anglo-Indian. My husband is white. Our children are bi-racial, two are white, two are olive. Racism is no stranger.
I was born and raised in Australia, and I have dealt with racism since childhood. As a kid, there were slurs, outright hostility, and violence. I remember a kid at my school following me on my way home, hitting at my calves with a garden stake. I remember my concerned Dad teaching me how to defend myself physically when I was seven, knowing I would probably face other similar incidents. I remember punch-ons, and teachers who turned a blind eye when I defended myself, as they knew they couldn’t always be there to intervene. I remember stories from my parents, uncles, aunts, grandparents, of the insane levels of racism they had faced. My grandfather (Scottish) married my grandmother (Indian) and was disowned for it. His own mother refused to help my grandparents care for their starving children, because their kids were mixed race.
As an adult, the racism I have encountered most often is of a more subtle nature; generalisations of my work ethic based on race, on the number of my children I have based on race, of my talents based on race, of intelligence, of hygiene, of parenting… and the occasional bout of outright hostility.
My kids haven’t had many of such experience (yay for homeschool!) but the thought that they might both breaks my heart and kindles my anger. The awareness that there are children who are dealing with this… the awareness that George Floyd was someone’s son and he cried out for his mum, the injustice of it all… it just makes me burn.
How is it that we are still having to defend a belief that people are people?!?! How is it that a Black Lives Matter movement is being diminished by responses of “all lives matter”? Of course they do! But Black Lives Matter is the burning issue, and pointing out that your life matters too does nothing to extinguish those flames! It is not helpful. Posting a black tile doesn’t make you an ally.
Muting yourself doesn’t make you an ally – and frankly, how utterly ridiculous to think that you should be silent because you’re white. Instead, listen, and then use your voice and your privilege to support change. Share posts from black content creators, and from black platforms. Silence around racism has not saved anyone yet, but it sure as hell has enabled it to continue.
Lovely people, if we want to change, then we need to do the work. Ask questions of yourself and of others. Please don’t mute yourself – learn, and listen, and then speak. Being Anti-Racism is not a something that we can achieve, as such; it’s an ongoing journey, learning to challenge racism in ourselves and to grow in love as we do. I hope you’ll grow with me.
Thank you beautiful lady for sharing your voice. Thank you for letting me honour it with a reshare. Props also to LOGAN WEAVER on Unsplash for posting some pretty amazing photos including the one featured on this post. Words matter so much when it comes to capturing these infinitely significant cultural moments. Photos do too.