I’m an 18-year-old white girl and I’ve lived among more white people my whole life than some could probably even imagine. Like so many white people. If there are tiers of privilege, I’m way up there, just under the fan favorite, white male.
For a long time, I had the belief that it’s not my place to really speak on things like racism and Black Lives Matter, other than presenting myself as an “ally” and arguing against people who do and say insensitive things. I do still think it isn’t a white person’s place to be the loudest voice in the room on these topics. But the truth is, it is necessary right now for everyone, especially those with the most privilege, to do everything they can to help. I’m writing now because at this point, what the f*ck?!
When I was in grade school (meaning all the way through high school), every time a black person was killed by the police, we’d go to school the next day and our teachers would speak with a different tone of voice, we’d maybe talk about what happened for around five minutes and then we’d continue with our regularly scheduled activities. I know my teachers were good people, but they were working for an institution. An institution that was probably telling them we’d most likely benefit from going about our day as if it was normal. As if seeing a black man killed on the news the night before was normal.
So now, it is May 2020, and we have finally had enough of it being normal. The thing is, it’s hard to look at who’s in charge and what is going on and think something might actually change. There is a literal racist man probably swiveling around in the Oval Office right now with a phone between his thumbs getting ready to tweet something about how the “thugs” outside his house are just bait for Secret Service dogs.
Look, I don’t know how to change anyone’s mind. I don’t know what will flip the switch in someone else’s head. But some people just have a faulty switch. It’s not off, you just need to fix it. So if you are reading this and can think of someone who cringes at the videos but then changes the channel or says “Yeah, that’s terrible” but then changes the topic, it has become your responsibility to get them to continue the conversation.
I don’t know how bad the media is. There are a lot of good journalists out there and a lot of people who really are trying to get the truth. What I do know is that when I turn on the news, there’s an 80% chance I’m about to see coverage of looting and rioting. But, if I open Twitter, I will see it all. Yesterday I watched a video of a car full of white people drive past and then a swarm of police officers tase, beat and drag a black couple in a car behind them. As you’ve heard, you don’t need to share traumatic videos. But, you need to talk about what is happening. If your parents are only seeing the videos of Nike get looted on the news, you need to inform them. There’s a lot going on and it can’t all fit in the few minutes these people watch on the news before they change the channel.
Social media is f*cking amazing. I love it. It’s horrible how addicted I am to it. But for real though, it is NOT going to solve racism. Congrats! You tagged ten friends! ……. Feel that? It’s nothing. Nothing happened. Because an instagram tag chain, believe it or not, is probably the worst possible way to get the message across. Continue to share what you learn, continue to call people out for their mistakes, but STOP acting like people who haven’t Instagrammed their anti-racismness are failing. You have no idea if that person hasn’t donated to and signed the same things as you. The last time I checked, there are millions more people who are not on Instagram who ALSO need to learn the same lessons we do. I don’t want people to stop being silent just to save face on Instagram. Black people want them to actually mean something. Black people need them to actually do something.
This blog is called fashionableenough. It’s lighthearted. It’s supposed to be funny. But until black people are viewed as human enough, something as trivial as fashionable is off the table.
You are enough!
In this blog, I addressed things I’ve learned in the past month. If you feel something came across the wrong way or it is too me-centric, please call me out on it.
Venmo Megan Gnospelius @mgnos to support food pantries in downtown Chicago. CPS has shut off meal services.
Other places to donate (Chicagoland specific):
Venmo/Cash App @protectchi (fundraising essentials for frontline protection)