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How can I help as a White Woman?

Uncategorized Jun 03, 2020
 
"I am asking now - how can I help? What do you need? I am here, I am listening and I want with all my heart to be part of the solution."

Good morning. Since writing my first post concerning the murder of George Floyd, I have listened with growing horror to the pain and fear of black women in America and those I know in the UK. And I realised that I needed to say more or I am part of the problem.

This is long, but please bear with me. And please - if I say something here that is incorrect or offensive to you, be kind when you point out my error. I am genuinely striving to be better, do better and to understand how I can be part of the solution rather than the probably, both personally and as the host of this community. I am actively seeking to educate myself.

Firstly, I want to be clear that everyone is welcome here, whatever the colour of your skin. If you are black, please know your voice is important in this community.

If you are white, your voice is also important in this community. To be FOR something is not to automatically be AGAINST something else. But, for the moment, if we are white it would serve us - and humanity - well to listen deeply rather than rush to speak.

Equally, please know that hate speech, bullying, expressions of political opinion that cause pain to any community is NOT welcome here.

As a middle-aged white English woman I cannot hope to truly understand the experience of being black. I have NEVER in my life felt in fear for my life because of the colour of my skin. I have never felt fearful that my sons could be stopped and searched and be in danger from the police.

I used to say I don't see colour and thought that meant I was not a racist. I used to think "yes, but...ALL lives matter!" when I saw the hashtag Black Lives Matter - because I genuinely believed that to draw attention to colour was racist in itself. I felt uncomfortable when I first heard the phrase "white privilege".

I felt more uncomfortable still when I saw how often black women were expected to explain their experience, over and over again, to well meaning white women who genuinely wanted to understand, and how it exhausts them.

I am appalled and genuinely heartbroken that this is still the situation in 2020. I naively thought my generation did better than the last regarding race relations and equality and that things, whilst not great, were at least going in the right direction. How wrong I was.

I honestly thought that racism is "less of a problem" in the UK. I am embarrassed that I have been so blind. To all the women who have shared their experiences over the past few days, THANK YOU. By sharing with such painful honesty, you have opened a dialogue which, I hope, we as mothers, grandmothers, industry leaders and creative professionals can develop and evolve.

So I am asking now - how can I help? What do you need? Can you use MY white privilege in some way to take steps to make things better? I am here, I am listening and I want with all my heart to be part of the solution.

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