society’s handbook, by FB
This article was written for yooou! by 17-year-old, FB.
For most people, society’s recent outcry has been a relief of finally sharing stories, like people’s own experience with police brutality and racism. But for others, it has been a stressful moment of ‘what can I do to play a part in this historical moment?’ or ‘everything I seem to be doing is wrong- too much, too little, not good enough’.
So I have created a “handbook” called, “society’s handbook” to follow. Always keep in mind that nothing is mandatory and anything you do has an impact.
1. Keep an open-mind
No matter what type of household you were raised in it is important to keep an open mind and educate yourself of the long history of oppression against African-American/Black people and coloured people. By doing so you create a broader understanding of how long this has been going on and the frustration of most people still facing this. Listen without being defensive- is the main goal. It is hard to respond to certain critiques without being defensive, however it is important to not listen selectively and listen with an open mind and heart.
2. Educate yourself
It is important to understand what has happened in the past and why people are so frustrated and angry. Educating yourself about systemic racism and white privilege is essential to becoming actively anti-racist. By listening, reading and watching we are coming to terms with what is happening and use this new-found knowledge to support Black communities. We may not all completely understand how it feels to be discriminated against, but the least we can do is somewhat understand what is happening.
3. Use your privilege to help others
White Privilege is the unearned privilege you have because of the skin colour you were born into. You cannot do anything about it, but you do benefit from it because of the discriminating society we live in. You can use your privilege by standing up for others who aren’t being heard, this can be through protesting or simply seeing a person in need who is being treated unfairly and intervene. The most difficult is confronting friends or family who may make racist remarks. Confront them and explain that this is not acceptable.
4. Donate + sign petitions
Donating to different causes is always a good idea, no matter what the amount is. There are hundreds of options you have to donate and sign petitions to, including crowdfunding and GoFundMe that have been set up by the victims of police brutality who are struggling to pay for the damage that has been done or the people who have been unjustly arrested and paying their bail. By donating you cooperate in extensive research for change within the system as well as legal help to those who need it and much more depending on
5. Stand up and protest (for activists)
Standing up and protesting is an important act in showing that you don’t agree with how the system is set up at the moment, in this case that would be the injustice acts of police brutality especially against black citizens. Police brutality has proven to be a major issue and has been present during some protests and demonstrations- so my advice is definitely to be cautious and careful of your surroundings and do not take part in the destruction of property. (Click here to read TM’s post on peaceful protests).
The media attention of protesters is huge and this by itself informs and shows the viewers how many people physically stand for this cause and stresses the importance of change.
It is important to understand that you should not feel obligated to post online because offline support is just as important. I hope this handbook has cleared up the fact that – If we want an equal society we all individually need to put work into it: working on ourselves is profitable for everyone. Again there is no added pressure to do something, this is just to inform people of some of their options to help along. The more people who come together for change, the harder it is for the people standing opposite us to stay silent.
Links that may help:
Books that may help:
- The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness – by Michelle Alexander
- White Fragility – by Robin DiAngelo
- So You Want to Talk About Race – by Ijeoma Oluo