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Inequality, Privilege, and #BlackLivesMatter: Time to Talk – GM46

It’s a difficult conversation, but one that has to happen. On Grey Matters: My thoughts on inequality, privilege, and #BlackLivesMatter.

Inequality and White Privilege: My Thoughts on #BlackLivesMatter

[0:00] – Introducing this episode on #BlackLivesMatter.

  • Many brands and influencers across the world have expressed their support for the #BlackLivesMatter movement on social media; most opted to black out their profiles and publish messages of empowerment. 
  • However, there is surprisingly little discussion on what solutions can be applied beyond these demonstrations of support.
  • Having this conversation is difficult because there’s the very real danger of not having anything meaningful to contribute to the discussion—especially if the person in question has enjoyed white privilege all their life. 
  • Even for people who do not believe themselves to be overtly racist, it’s important to make an effort to at least participate in this global conversation. 

[2:32] – How things are in Canada.

  • A big reason why many have remained silent is because of the lack of any concrete idea on how to fix things. 
  • Many people who have not been on the receiving end of systemic inequality and racism have trouble coming up with solutions, and thus (unintentionally) become part of the problem.
  • In Canada, there is a disproportionate number of indigenous peoples incarcerated, compared to the white population.
  • While it may be true that the people who are in jail are criminals, it is highly likely that systemic racism caused them to end up in a position to commit said crimes—whether it’s a broken childhood, a lack of sense of self, or the absence of hope—and not because they're inherently bad.

[6:52] – The #BlackLivesMatter protests.

  • Historically, Black people have had to conform to society or act in a way that does not make them look suspicious or guilty in public, which is a problem that would not exist if racism were completely absent to begin with. 
  • This is a problem that those with white privilege don’t struggle with: being raised or brought into a culture where you don't see the same future, or where there are limits to where you can go and what you can do, because of the color of your skin or your heritage.

[8:54] – Supporting #BlackLivesMatter.

  • It is time to recognize the unfair nature of systemic racism, and how people who have been raised with privilege, while not individually part of the problem, systemically are. 
  • Each of the people in this position has a moral responsibility of extending that hope for a better life and future to every member of the community, particularly to the spaces in which hope remains absent. 
  • These societal problems have been generations in the making, and it is imperative that the people of today find ways to break those cycles. 
  • It is true that awareness of the problem has increased over the decades, and many people with white privilege or who do not suffer the same level of oppression that Blacks do are starting to consciously be more careful with their thoughts and actions so as not to perpetuate the deeply embedded racism in society.
  • However, simply changing how we think changing isn't going to solve the problem; there has to be a tangible solution, some real programs that will bring about true change in our everyday reality.

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