Hey, I’m talking to you. White person! Yeah you!
All that stuff going on in America – the George Floyd stuff. It’s really important. It’s affecting lots of people. Not just the hundreds of murdered black people that went before him, but everyone viewing those images, seeing the protests and the violent threats and responses from the American leadership.
It’s affecting people of colour most – those images bring home the inequality being experienced day to day in work and outside work. Ask any person of colour if they experienced racism – the answer will be yes. It’s something white people never experience, and seldom see happening to other people.
Black Lives Matter.
They matter most right now because people of colour are the ones in the firing line, literally. It’s not a new thing, it’s been going on for years, decades, centuries. It needs to stop. In any country, it’s unacceptable, in a modern democracy it’s simply abhorrent.
This week a few people reached out to me to chat about the George Floyd situation in the work envionment. It’s a really difficult sometimes to know what to say either to stop someone triggering, or just saying something wrong for fear of offending people.
When I know I must listen and learn about issues affecting someone that I simply don’t and can’t appreciate from my own perspective – I do the following:
- check my privilege
- read-up on history and current affairs (if I can’t do this before, do it I after)
- use the right language and if I get it wrong I apologise straight away
- don’t be scared to talk about things that make you uncomfortable
We can never be something we are not (race, gender, sexuality, disability) – but we can have empathy, kindness and love – to at least try and understand how people are feeling and what they are going through – and talk and support people in our teams (and friends) that might need that right now.