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You are here: > Campaigns > Black Lives Matter > Before we begin

Before we begin

Picture: Maria Oswalt

“This is too political for TG”
The Black Lives Matter movement is political in the sense that it requires changes at governmental level to be implemented - but that makes it no different to any of TG’s other mandates. Ultimately, this is about human rights and about disrupting the societal barriers which allow systemic racism to endure - much as our forebears disrupted the societal barriers which prevented women from voting on equal terms.  

“All lives matter”
 In an ideal world, yes. But the Black Lives Movement is not about claiming that black lives matter more than anyone else’s. It is about the need to make black lives matter just as much as anyone else’s, which is not something society in its current form allows.  

Think of it like this: if you went to the doctor with a broken ankle, how would you feel if they met your complaint with “all bones matter”? If your house was on fire and you called for help, how would you feel to be told “but all houses matter”? In those moments, you would want the attention and support to go to the bone or house in need - and that is exactly what is being asked for by the Black Lives Matter movement.   “

What about reverse-racism?”
This doesn’t exist. Black individuals may harbour prejudice towards white people but they cannot be racist against them - racism requires prejudice plus power, and society has developed to ensure that the power is with white people. Focusing on the prejudiced few is an easy excuse to ignore the much bigger societal injustices that need to be addressed.  

“What about other non-white people?”
As a culturally diverse nation, the term Black and Minority Ethnic (BAME for short) is a term that crops up when discussing issues faced by non-white ethnicities. This term is useful when considering matters that impact on all non-white ethnicities - for example, the recent reports on how Covid-19 has impacted more on our BAME population - but should not be used when discussing matters which are specifically to do with black people.  

 “White privilege”
The term “white privilege” does not mean that white people do not face hardship. Anyone can suffer through hard times and there are other types of privilege which can impact on us - based on gender or sexuality, for example. But there are things that white people will never have to worry about simply because they are white - they don’t have to worry about people calling the police on them because they look “suspicious”, just because they are existing somewhere and are black. They can approach or be approached by police without fearing for their safety where black people may not - and this is not just a US issue. Being born white is enough to ensure that society will automatically treat you better than any other ethnicity - and that is what white privilege is all about.

Accepting this is key to becoming an effective ally to the cause - we cannot change that we were born with privilege, but we can choose to change how we use it and use our voices to reach where others cannot.  

“On the news”

Newspapers and broadcast news filter their information through a particular lens and it is important that we take a step back and think about what we are being told and why. Many of the people with power in traditional news media are white men, who are comfortable in a societal system that was designed to suit them over anyone else, and they rely on people not questioning what their channels and publications issue.  

This is where social media can play a part. If you are able to, spending some time searching social media - Twitter and Instagram especially - will open up a world of information and resources that you might not otherwise find. Not all of it will be true and not all of it will be relevant to the UK but you will start to see more sides to the issue and start to understand why things can’t go on the way they have been.  



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