• Charlotte Alford

I Don't Know What To Do.

Updated: Jul 23, 2020

You have probably already seen a post identical to this one. I have written this at least twenty times now. I have deleted, edited and repeated words over and over again. I am worried that anything I say will anger, offend or sadden someone. I am sad at how helpless I feel, heartbroken at the pain and suffering of others and angry at myself for feeling sad about something that is not affecting me, for how tokenistic this seems and for being ridiculously uneducated and unaware. I really don't know what I am saying here or what I should or can do. But something has to be done and I know I can't sit back and say nothing.

The fact that we need to say something so basic and obvious as "black lives matter" is disgusting. They have always mattered. They will always matter. The discrimination that has been brought to the black community has gone on for so long, that we have become accustomed to it in our day to day lives. What a horrendous thing to be accustomed to.

Call it naivety, call it ignorance, call me a straight up bitch, but throughout my life I have always taken the standpoint that if you were nice or funny or interesting to talk to, then that was all that mattered; Your background, sex, race or religion did not matter to me. But what I have come to realise over the last few weeks is how misguided that was. By not looking at a persons background, I have missed the discrimination they face and by not looking at a persons race, I have been ignoring the racism that has been brought against them. And for that, I am ashamed.

I think I have said the word "I" in one post enough now, so maybe it's time to focus on the people who are actually affected, who are marginalised and who do suffer from racism and crimes against them throughout their entire lives. We should never forget the pain that our privileged system has caused so many, but enough is enough, the system has to change. Let's look at colouring a world that has been split into black and white for far too long. So here are a few of the bare minimum things you can and should do to try and help improve the world that we live in.

Just Fucking Listen

The words from the likes of Clara Amfo, Dave, George the Poet, Akala, Indya Moore, Raquel Willis and a million and one others, they are the voices that matter here, they are the ones with the power and the truth. They should be heard, repeated and spread.

Call Out Idiots

Do not buy into the tokenistic bullshit of corporations. Don't like their "black lives matter" posts when their boards are made up of white men, their products are designed with only white people in mind and their ads consist of white people with an obvious inclusive checklist thrown in without a thought or care. Call them out and boycott. You may think these small actions make no difference, but they truly do.

Teach Yourself and Others

For the record, I am not for one moment saying that it is the job of an entire race to spend their days calling me out on my ignorance. But, and this goes to everyone, if you hear someone say and do something that you know to be wrong or misspoken (even unintentionally) please educate them. I know Jameela Jamil says this a lot better than I ever could.

One glance at social media and you will see a wealth of people, links, posts, articles, accounts, videos, books, podcasts and music all focused on black culture, identity and racism. I've named a very small few above but I would like to mention one other person... The Love Islander lover himself, Mr Abudl Obanigba. I hope he doesn't mind me putting this here, cause he is doing amazing things! He has been in Adidas ads, he was in the short film, Girlsplained (It's on Youtube, give it a watch) and he is currently one of the brilliant brains behind Under the Influence, the Instagram and Youtube account that looks into small businesses and the creative world in a new and necessary way. Their whole mantra is "Different lives, Different views" and if those videos don't motivate you to get up, do something and support some fantastic small businesses, then nothing will. He is a straight up hussler! I have zero right, but I'm super proud of everything you are achieving bud.

I haven't said anything here that you don't already know, so this may be a pointless post, yet the issue is anything but. Don't let this be a topic of conversation for a week, and then ignore it till another person loses their life. This is a pandemic. One that can't be fixed by locking yourself away from it.

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