Hi beaut. First of all, I want to start by saying I hope you’re doing okay. It’s been a tough last couple of weeks I think, and I’d be surprised if you weren’t mentally exhausted right now. But that’s okay. I’ve come to accept that it’s totally okay to be overwhelmed and at a loss for words at times like this.
I’ve spent two solid weeks feeling so upset, angry, disappointed and honestly devastated at the events that have played out. I have many black friends and always have throughout my life, so seeing the video of George Floyd’s tragic murder and the fact that it even happened in that way, I just immediately felt like I’d let all my black friends down. I felt so much guilt because for so long I have just been so oblivious to the black community’s struggles with this extreme racism – in terms of police brutality and their oppression in every aspect of life.
It’s a really confusing one because I knew racism existed, of course, I knew. Lord knows, I’m a British Asian and I’ve definitely experienced racism first-hand throughout my own life. But never did I think that racism in the year 2020, was actually resulting in peoples’ deaths, especially at the hands of policemen. So yeah, the horrific video of George Floyd’s death (may his soul rest in peace) was a huge wake-up call for me, as well as the rest of the world it seems.
Deaths like Big Floyd’s shouldn’t be happening in 2020 or any other year for that matter, there’s just no excuse for it. And yet it did. So since seeing the video, I’ve focused so much energy on educating myself, sharing petitions and resources, so that I could do my best to raise awareness for and support the black lives matter movement.
But it has to be said, I definitely wore myself down with it all. I was constantly consuming information on the tragic, unnecessary deaths, the treatment of black people in general, the updates on the riots and protests around the world, how badly the police were treating everyone, coupled with my own feelings of guilt and accountability. And I don’t feel guilt in the sense that I’ve ever been racist towards anyone, because I haven’t. I just feel as though I could’ve and should’ve done more to learn about the black community’s struggles beforehand and then I could’ve tried to provide more support to the black people in my life, had I known what they were going through.
I also feel like I’ve been particularly overwhelmed because as an Asian, I’m placed in such a grey area. I see quotes all over the internet saying things like “Better to learn about racism than experience it.” And I just think, but I have experienced it. I have been affected by it, yet I’m still learning and uncovering the truths of those that have it much worse than me.
Whilst I am in a position where I’m able to empathise with the struggle of being excluded and feeling inferior, I’m still trying to understand the fact that some people literally fear for their lives around policemen, purely because of their dark skin. It honestly just baffles me, because all this time I really thought that if the police were going to have a problem with anyone, it would be Muslims.
The Islamophobic culture in the US and UK these days is quite scary at times and with all the terrorist attacks that have occurred over recent years, I really thought that Muslims/Asians, in general, were the most at risk because of this. But now I’ve found out that’s not the case at all. It’s been a lot to wrap my head around and I’m sure if you have a similar background to me then you’ll agree.
Going forwards though, I think it’s really important for myself and all of you to continue educating ourselves and supporting this movement. Even when the hype dies down, black lives will still matter and it’s really up to us to stand up for them. I’ve actually written a separate blog post summarising some of the key information I’ve come across recently in relation to BLM and how to support the movement. Please go and check out that post for more detail and resources you can refer to.
The world is a beautiful place but it can turn ugly very quickly if gross misconduct goes unchecked. Nobody in this world should be fearing for their lives, especially because of the one force put in place to protect us and that’s why I stand so firmly behind this movement.
And it’s not just about supporting one minority group over another either. I’m definitely aware of the hardships of the people in other parts of the world and those from different races, including my own. But I trust that we can all open our hearts and make more of an effort to understand each others’ struggles and provide support where we can.