I have to write something.
I feel strongly that I must start to recognise how little I understand about the issues facing black people in the United States at the moment.
I certainly don't understand it. I don't understand how it has been fed, and why it continues.
I have chosen to start recognising my own racist and complacency in my own life.
If you asked me last Monday if I was racist I would have absolutely replied "no! of course not!" and I'd likely have been offended at the suggestion.
The last week has shifted something in me, I have started to wake up to the silent racism and silent discrimination that is happening around me all the time.
Last night I did something very out-of-character. I replied to my WhatsApp group of cousins (white, Irish,38-50 year old male and females) in response to a "funny" video.
A video that when I watched it I made a conscious choice not to see the funny side. I chose to recognise the racism it implied. And I choose to call them all out on this.
This video should never have been made let alone shared on any platform.
Yes, I was wonrried about what they would think of me, I certainly know that if I ever mentioned this in person I would be laughed at, made fun of, told "you're over reacting its just a bit f fun"... except it isn't. It isn't fun.
We need to stop hiding our discomfort behind humour, stop using "fun" as a reason to allow racism to continue.
Let's not allow the publicity that the atrocities from the USA are getting worldwide distract us from the daily discrimination and racism that is happening in front of our very noses.
My first step has been a little one, to start observing my biases, and my silence, and to change it.
I don't want to be an activist for black people, that's not me, however, I have a responsibility, more than just having some black friends, to identify my weaknesses around this issue, to get educated, to open my eyes.
Mass change starts with one person.
Thats what you are, that's what I am.
Are you willing to change?
Thank you for reading, I would love to hear your thoughts.