One Month In. Years to Go.
I started this website a little over a month ago with the aim of educating and exposing others to the racism and the consequences of it. I hoped to do this by documenting what I have learned, by sharing race issues that have appeared in the news, and by updated my website with books that I have found to be helpful. Despite having absorbed plenty of books, podcasts, TED talks and documentaries on racism, discrimination and black history, I felt like I could do more.
The lightbulb moment for me came when I was reading about White Silence in Layla F. Saad's book Me and White Supremacy. In this section she explained that White Silence can show itself when you find something you read or listen to that you agree with but fail to pass it on. She hit the nail on the head. As much as I was learning and unlearning about race, the systems weren't changing because I wasn't (and others were not) challenging the system. It was my silence that made me complicit in its perpetuation.
Now into the second month of this website's existence, I thought it would be timely to reflect on what I have done so far and consider what should be done, going forward.
So far I have written about race as a construct, the Windrush Scandal, institutional racism in education, and racism is football. To highlight the prevalence of racism, I have made a News page, which I aim to fill with topical links to other news sources. I have also added a resources page, which I aim slowly filling with books I have found interesting.
Looking ahead, I have lots more to write about, and lots to more to include. Some of the topics I want to learn more about and write about include:
The Uighurs treatment in Chinese detention centres
Cultural appropriation and The Halo Code
The difference between optical and actual allyship
I also want to eventually include more types of media to the resources page, including podcasts, documentaries and social media pages. This will take a while though because I want to make sure that I have properly learnt from them before recommending them to others.
I am always trying to check that my research is valid and my writing is informed. What is doubly important is that I am doing this to be helpful and not to feel good about myself. As Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie writes in her novel Americanah:
As a teacher, I must also recognise that I am in a position of influence and so I must take some responsibility for disseminating appropriate information and challenging the status quo. At school I have set up a Racial Inclusion, Diversity and Education group and I am proud to have plenty of students interested in making a difference. It certainly gives me some hope for the future. Last week we discussed White Silence and White Centering. Next time, we'll be discussing Allyship and Cultural Appropriation. Our school has also gone through unconscious bias training and have inset lined up to go through inclusion and biases in more detail. The school are also in the process of decolonising the curriculum and our trust have created a Charter for Action, which aims to educate all stakeholders and make sure each student feels represented. Overall, I feel like we are heading in the right direction. That is, of course, until I see people on Twitter accuse the BBC of political correctness because they awarded Marcus Rashford with an award. Or until I see a famous gardener of Asian descent told to "Go Home" because of his article about racism in horticulture. Both of these things I saw within one day of each other. As I will probably end many blog posts saying: there is much, much more work to be done. That being said, I appreciate you joining me on my journey. Do share your comments, questions and ideas!