Updated: Aug 10, 2020
"White silence is violence."
I heard this phrase recently and it stuck with me over the past weeks.
Frankly, while I find the point undeniably powerful, it also seems somewhat narrow-minded a perspective. Let's be real here - we've all witnessed something truly horrendous with the tragic death of George Floyd. Everyone is coping with that in their own way, as is their right.
With that said, I won't judge anyone for NOT raising their voices on the matter, though I hope everyone is paying sincere attention, reflecting on themselves and giving hard thought to what each of us can do.
I've been a silent observer on the sidelines of this all, letting the world beyond my bubble pass me by in a blur these last few weeks. Why? Well, I've been a tad pre-occupied getting ready for and making a big move to a new home with my partner Jamie.
And though times have been hectic beyond measure, I've not failed to spot the synchronicity of the universe at work and how events shape the futures we meet.
Amidst the toil of moving madness and some chaotic plumbing issues which are still ongoing (and generally not being an especially active social media presence), I was late to hear the outcry. Part of me is ashamed that it took me days to realise what was happening beyond COVID-19 in the world, though as the Black Lives Matter movement and name began to spread, finally my diverted attention was caught in earnest.
And it's taken me a while beyond that to find my own voice on the subject. That, I'm not ashamed of. I would rather listen and learn than gob off without a clue.
I've been meaning to get properly into blogging recently and, well, now seemed a good time to start. I'm a writer, not an activist or political voice or even really an influencer of any kind that I know of... but I felt compelled to write something. Something, of course, with my own spin. Something which satisfies the media lover in me.
So here we go.
How do we learn anything?
As far as questions go, it's as fine as any, I'd say.
There are many answers one could give, but in essence, I feel it all boils down to linking to reference points in our lives.
For me, this tends to be media; stories, whether in book or comic, TV or film format.
Stories are far more than just mere entertainment - I've known that for many years now. They help shape who we are and the stories we tell ourselves about what's possible or what our future will look like. Which, if you believe in the Law of Attraction (as I do), you'll recognise the importance of.
It's not always fiction, though, of course.
I spotted this post the other day which made me stop dead in my tracks.
The 'assume you have it' nature was what hit me in the feels. I'm not a racist in any way, but I started to realise that perhaps my attitude could be better. Perhaps there is more I can do.
That link, that reference point, helped me reach a deeper and more personal understanding.
Of course, I was already outraged at the atrocities committed not only against George Floyd but the entire black community over the years. But I think, like undoubtedly so many others, I had been swept up in my own life, my own bubble of belonging, for so long that it seemed like simply not being racist was enough in the way of 'support'.
450 years of rigged Monopoly
You've probably seen this passionate woman's extraordinary outcry already.
Just in case you haven't, check this out.
I mean... fuck.
Her argument is solid, no doubt. But the moment she relates the situation to being like playing 450 rounds of Monopoly without being able to really play... not only with no purchases or earnings but having to give your opponents everything you earn too as the ultimate kick in the teeth from some smug bastard hiding behind a shit-eating grin... well... damn.
Look, I'm not saying it wasn't clear the suffering of black people over the centuries, because it is, to anyone paying even an ounce of attention. What I'm getting at is that when lessons are linked to reference points in our own lives, they become more real.
It may sound silly to you, but hear me out (if you will - I'm not stopping you leaving, sorry if I've offended any delicate sensibilities!).
She mentions that we are lucky black people are after equality, not vengeance. I mentioned earlier my observation of synchronicity and the ways this universe is all connected.
Now keep that in mind while I satisfy the media lover in me...
Battlestar Galactica and racism
Have you watched BSG before?
I hadn't until recently.
It's bloody brilliant - largely because, rather than being your average sci-fi show, BSG is driven mostly by human elements and psychological behaviours.
Essentially - there were 12 colonies of humans spread across different planets. They created the Cylons, machines designed to serve them. These Cylon slaves of mankind rebelled, a war broke out, was quelled... then 40 years later, they returned and obliterated all except for 50298 survivors. These survivors and their fleet retreat into space in search of safety and a new home, and the story goes from there.
As the plot deepens (and trust me, there's way too much to go into here), we witness consistently how prejudice and racism played an integral role in the downfall of not only the human species, but the Cylons as well.
I don't want to spoil the story for anyone interested who hasn't watched it yet (because damn do I hate spoilers!), but the message is pretty fucking clear throughout that the back and forth racism between humans and Cylons serves only the mistress of destruction.
Only by moving beyond matters like racism and prejudice is it possible for continued survival.
The Cylons opted for vengeance.
I'm not saying black people are Cylons, but you'd have to be blind not to see ANY parallels between this story and slavery.
Since finishing BSG (I'm seriously amazed it took so many years for me to watch this bloody show), my partner and I have moved onto Spartacus - one of my all-time favourite shows.
Here again, this time rooted in our own history, we see the ramifications of slavery and racism as the once-mighty Roman Republic faces its demise at the hands of the 'common slaves' they had abused senseless for generations, victims of their own mistreatment, misgivings and superiority complexes.
Fair enough, the rebellion didn't topple the Republic in the end. But those involved in crushing this 'little' uprising certainly saw the collapse of the Republic, paving the way for the dominant Roman Empire to come.
My point is, there are lessons all around us. With media these days, you don't even need to spend hours pawing through books of research - if you're an entertainment addict more glued to binging TV shows than watching news, life's lessons are still right there before you.
More is caught than taught
I heard the phrase 'more is caught than is taught' the other day and felt it worth repeating.
It's true. And who can deny that racism is most definitely taught. No-one is BORN a racist, a bigot or a misogynistic misanthropic prick - these behaviours are learned, picked up even if through subconscious means.
And that's my real point.
Don't you think it's time to wake up and pay attention, acknowledge the reality around us and make sure we catch the right lessons - the ones which teach of love, unity, connection, peace, equality and happiness?
The answers are all there for us, waiting for us all to open our bloody eyes, this I truly believe. Whether it's in our history, told through fiction or shouted out by the cries of the oppressed and downtrodden, the answers are there.
I truly believe that success leaves clues - and we have by no means not succeeded in anything during our brief stint on this beautiful spinning mass of earth and water.
I also believe in thinking and learning before speaking. They say the wisest often speak last because they're doing just that - observing, learning, absorbing, adjusting their thoughts and understanding how to see others' perspectives. They're evolving before your very eyes.
Times like these show outdated systems for what they really are in all regards.
It's clear we need global change in a monumental manner, but evolution takes time - the mental kind included. That said, as Tony Robbins taught me, it's actually the decision to change which takes the time. Once you've decided to change - really decided, I mean - you do it instantly.
You only need to look at the COVID-19 situation to see how fast change can be made.
Responses have been far from perfect in any regard, true, but look how quickly any business not overburdened with outdated principles adopted home working processes. Look at how quickly the NHS debt was wiped out.
I think it's pretty clear that 2020 will be seen as a critical year in our development when the history books look back on these times.
I only hope it won't take an Independence Day level extinction event to finally unite us all as the human race (against the threat of alien invaders who want to mine our planet because the ooey-gooey core makes a mean slushie they just can't live without - though even that would only perpetuate the hate cycle further!).
2020 is not a write-off
There have been so many memes floating around joking about how 2020 is officially written off - and while they are, at times, admittedly amusing, it doesn't have to be a wasted year.
Time is too precious for that.
Me personally, I'm making this a year for continuously evolving my perspective, learning the lessons dotted around me in all walks of life. My personal and spiritual evolution - an ongoing goal which knows no real end.
You get what you tolerate. I've said that a lot recently, and it's as true now as it ever has been.
So how about we all raise our standards?
And to the black community, I just want to say - you have my support. I stand with your in solidarity. Though I can never fully and personally comprehend your struggles, I will always support true equality, compassion, understanding, empowerment and change.
I'll leave anyone still reading (hello, are you there? *prods* WAKE UP!!) with a phrase I heard on a video I'm about to share. The phrase was 'white allergies', and I just felt it was a great way to define how we might be overlooking our own indiscretions.
It's so important to reflect on everything we say and do, and why.
To echo this video - let's stop being 'not racist' and start being 'anti-racist'.
Also, I sincerely hope none of this causes any offence and apologise for any I may cause.