As many are now aware, mass protests have been taking place across the United States in the last couple of days, following the murder of George Floyd, a 40-year-old black man by a white Minnesota Police officer.
The events unfolding across the US and the world are the culmination of hundreds of years of racial oppression, injustice and inequality. People of Colour (POCs) across the US, although 'free' in theory, are to this day chained and denied the rights of the majority European-decent population.
The suffering and injustices endured by black Americans and people of colour seen in the last week of news reports are but a drop in the ocean of everyday injustices experienced by POCs. People of Colour in the US have been held back from achieving equal levels of prosperity and quality of life through political and socio-economic means such as systemic racism and implicit bias.
Black Lives Matter is not about black vs white, or people of colour vs white people. Black Lives Matter is about the abolishment of racism at all its levels. It is about stopping the archaic mindset that skin tone defines a person's worth. It is about acknowledging the repugnance of slavery, colonialism and what the devaluation of human life has done to American society. It is about effecting actual change to mindsets, policies, practices and about killing off inhumane biases that have been handed down through the generations.
Although the atrocities we've all seen this week have been happening for hundreds of years, the sheer number of protests taking place across America and the world is a sign of just how fed-up POCs are of being forced to live with these injustices on a day-to-day basis.
You don't have to be a black history professor to make a difference. You only need to be a human being. Here are ways you can take a stand against the atrocities happening to people of colour in the modern world.
If you don't understand why the protests and riots are happening across the US, do the research. Don't sit idly on your phone watching Facebook videos and newscasts. Take the time to learn and understand why people of colour have gotten to the point of protest. Check out these resources and empathise.
Petitions need your signatures; appeals for justice for the many individuals who have died at the hands of the very individuals who pledged to serve and protect - names such as George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and many, many others.
If you have resources to spare, donate to the victims of these tragedies, to the protesters who are risking their lives for social, economic and political change, to black-owned businesses and other vital funds.
You don't have to be a black history professor to make a difference. You only need to be a human being.
I am not African-American, but I am a person of colour and a proud African. I have lived, as all people of colour do, with the implicit biases that societies across the world live have adopted from supremacist western culture and media. I know what it is to be followed around a shop, to have people clutch their purses around me and to be 'randomly selected' for security checks.
There is much to be said about beauty standards and how the skin lightening industry makes money from ensuring the masses believe that lighter skin is superior. This ridiculous notion is clearly visible in Thailand and many other parts of the world. For this, an entirely dedicated article is needed.
Still, I am happy that here living in Thailand I don’t have to live in fear of not knowing if I will get home at the end of the day, as many POC including my two brothers do, due to systematic racism in the US and many parts of the world.
For more information, visit Black Lives Matter and the Black Lives Matter Carrd website.