When I started my blogs this year, I decided I would try and write a blog fortnightly. It was going okay; right up to when George Floyd was killed in the US. I wrote a blog about the subject and racism as a whole, which was well received and I was very happy. As the days went by and the deadline for the next blog was drawing closer, I realised that I was not sure what to say, whether what I did say could make a difference. The question became should I write a blog for the sake of it, to keep my business on people's social media feeds or do I only write blogs when I feel I actually have a subject I want to speak about, a subject that makes me feel passionate. I realised I want to be authentic, I want to be me!!
Now if you do know me, you'll know I love a chat, love talking about my kids, family, my partner, mindfulness, yoga, mental health, wanting to make a difference in someone's life etc. Celebrating family and friend's accomplishments; I enjoy doing this so much. On the flip side, I have learnt that at times it is best to not say anything. To sit back and just watch what takes place. I did this.
I sat and watched humans turn on each other. Friends that I have had since school would have conversations with me, that would make me look at them and ask whether I truly knew them. People who had always made me laugh, were making me question why I was friends with them in the first place. I hated this feeling and I don't like using the word hate. I tell my kids to never say hate, as it is such a strong and destructive word but at this time, I hated how I was feeling.
I had friends saying Black Live Matter, I had friends saying White Lives Matter, I had friends saying All Lives Matter and then there were the ones, who just didn't want to recognise what was happening in our society. If they put their head in the sand, then this shit was not happening. But ladies and gents this shit is real. People are turning on each other in ways I never thought possible. I have even had a white friend be called a racial derogatory name because she was extremely tanned, brunette and brown eyes. And let's not forget Covid-19 is still kicking ass, especially with ethnic minorities. For the first time in my time as a parent, I questioned what world I had brought my children into.
So what is the answer? I don't bloody know but I know we cannot continue down this road.
I am always saying start a conversation but actually before the conversation can happen, we need to open our eyes. For people to see that before we are a black person, a white person, an asian person, we are human beings. If you peeled the skin away, each person would look relatively the same. They would have a heart, pumping blood around their body. A brain, whose nervous system would be telling the body to breathe. I could go on but basically we are the same. But due to archaic views, we still believe someone is better than another due to the colour of their skin, but not just their skin.....
Last month was Pride month. A month where LGBTQ+ community celebrate who they are. Now I love a good Pride march. I stand in awe at these marches, generally smiling and enjoying the positive energy coming off people in waves. Last year, I took my three children to Bristol Pride. I wanted them to see that being gay, a lesbian etc was all good. As we walked with the procession, a preacher shouted "You're are all going to hell", "I cast damnation on you". People ignored him or shouted over him. My 9 year old daughter asked me why he seemed so angry. I told her the man did not believe that two people of the same sex should be allowed to love each other. That it is not okay to be different. My daughter took on my words, she went quiet as we walked. After 10 minutes, she piped up. " I feel sorry for that man, mum". Shocked by this, I asked why she would feel sad for him. I certainly was not feeling sad for him. She said, "That man is so full of hate, that he doesn't have any space to love". I couldn't have put it better.
You see All Lives Matter can only happen when All Lives Are Equal. I am not just talking about ethnic minorities but also LGBTQ+. A person should be measured on their merits, on the person they are and what they are bringing to the table. We should ALL have the same criteria to be measured on. Just because a couple are gay, does not say they do not have the capability to love and adopt a child any different to a straight couple. That a black man who holds the same qualifications as a white man, is less suitable to a job because of his skin colour.
I teach my kids not to measure someone on face value, to get to know them then make a decision about them. I'm not stupid, I don't tell my kids to love all, as there are bad people out there. People who only want to hurt, be it through words or actions. But look further than their nose. Maybe I am wrong, maybe I should be telling them to love all. To see the negative that person is carrying and try and change that. I am still learning.
I am a yoga student and one of the sutras (laws) that all yogis try to live by is Ahimsa, this means non violence.
To live in such a way that we cause no harm in thought, speech or action to any living being, including ourselves
I now try and live by this code and also pass this to my children. When you really think about it, the sutra isn't asking you to do anything too strenuous, too out there. To just not do harm to others.
Quite easy really