Systemic Racism (understanding it and where it came from)

Systemic racism by definition is a form of racism that is embedded as a normal practice within a society or organisation. Systemic racism (also known as institutional racism) is a global problem, which needs to be dealt with on a global scale. As a result , systemic racism isn’t something that is easily fixed. It is often engraved in peoples thought patterns from a young age and is passed on through generations, so when a person grows up believing in the division of the races it is often quite difficult to convince them otherwise. Even people who do believe in unity can sometimes have a closed mindset on the topic and here’s why.

Photo from: @claybanks on unsplash

It is a common misconception that racism started with a misunderstanding. That black and white people met and because they didn’t look the exact same they considered each other abnormal and acted under the falsehood that they were not the same species. And most people believe some variation of that story.

The problem with this is not only that it is false but also that it gives people an excuse to sit on their hands. Some white people look at that story and think because it was a misunderstanding, racism is a black person problem to solve.

This is true for a proportion of the world population; that they aren’t necessarily “racist” they just don’t believe its their problem to deal with. But the truth is, it is very much a white person problem, more so than a black person problem. To fully understand why that is and what us white people can do, we first need to understand where these unethical beliefs came from.

“The opposite of racist isn’t non-racist, it’s anti-racist.”

Ibram X. Kendi

Dr Ibram Kendi, one of the leading scholars in racism and author of the New York Times bestselling book “How to be an Anti-Racist”, has found what he believes to be the start of systemic racism. He believes that racism was first dominant around the 1450’s when slave traders tied to the Portuguese crown used racism as a way of justifying a poor decision. These particular slave traders were the first to travel to sub Saharan Africa. Upon their arrival they promptly enslaved groups of African people, and to justify what they had done, to themselves, and the world they lied. They claimed that the Africans were unintelligent and inferior. Therefore making it “ok” to strip them of basic human rights.

Photo from: Nathan Dumlao on unsplash

John Biewen a friend of Dr Ibram Kendi, journalist and documentarian gave a speech on the issue. He said that the whole idea of “blackness” and “whiteness” began then and there, and that it didn’t take long for other European countries to follow in their footsteps and adopt these unethical and racist ideas. He then went on to tell us that there is no such thing as “blackness” and “whiteness” that racism is a mental block. A mindset that is based off of a lie.

“Denial is the heartbeat of racism.”

Ibram X. Kendi

Dr Biewen also states that racism is a white person problem. It began with a lie, a lie that a white person told in order to justify a poor decision. To supposedly “right a wrong”. He then goes on to tell us we need not to feel guilty about the wrongs of our ancestors but to take on a sense of responsibility. Which I agree with entirely. Our history as the human race is not pretty, it is full of violence, irrationality, lies and hurt. However we must not only reconcile these past mistakes with the descendants of the victims but with ourselves as well. We no longer live in the 1450’s, the times have changed, so have the people, so should the thinking. This isn’t only meant to mean being racist or homophobic or sociopathic etc it is also about how we view solutions. If the people have changed the problems and solutions will change with us.

Photo from: Nathan Dumlao on unsplash

Dr Kendi spoke of the current causes of racism in his interview with The Undefeated. He talks about where racism comes from now. He tells us that these days racism is not out of hate or ignorance but more so out of self – interest. Dr Kendi claims that “education, love and exemplary black people won’t solve racism”.

I would also like to mention that culture is built from us, the people. Therefore collectively we can rebuild culture. And redefine “normal”.

White people need to understand that racism is as much their problem as it is a Black persons problem. People need to understand that there is no such thing as “blackness” and “whiteness” that racism is a mental block, and to fix racism we need to make a mindset switch.

Thank you for reading this post. It is incredibly important to me that these messages are heard and I am thrilled to have been able to pass this one on to you. If you would like to read more on major world problems and what we can do about them be sure to follow this blog. Anyways thanks for reading have an amazing day.

For anyone interested in John Biewen’s TED talk I’ve linked it here.

Say Their Names!

Hey everyone today’s post is an extension of a previous post (I’ve put the link here). I’m sure you’re all aware of the Black Lives Matter campaign and the story of George Floyd that has made its way across the globe. George Floyd isn’t the only African – American person to have been killed unjustly. So today’s post is me paying my respects to these people, their families and all Black people. Say their names. It’s the least we can do. Pay your respects to these people who have lost their lives too soon. Stand with us in this ongoing battle for equality.

Eric Garner

Eric Garner passed away on the 17th of July 2014 after a New York City police officer put him in a chokehold whilst trying to arrest him.

Tamir Rice

On November 22nd 2014, 12 year old Tamir Rice was shot after a white police officer saw him holding a toy gun which he mistakenly thought was real, the police officer shot Tamir Rice almost immediately, failing to check whether the gun was real or not.

Mya Hall

In 2015 a black trans woman, Mya Hall (originally Ricky Hall) was killed by Baltimore Police.

Rumain Brisbon

Rumain Brisbon, 34, was shot twice in the torso after a white police officer claimed he felt threatened by Brisbon. As a result of the incident Rumain Brisbon lost his life.

Samuel DuBose

On the 19th of July an unarmed African – American man (Samuel DuBose) was shot and killed by police.

Akai Gurley

On the 20th of November 2014 in Brooklyn, New York City, Akai Gurley died after a NYC police officer shot him.

Nia Wilson

On the 22nd of July 2018 Nia Wilson was with her 2 sisters when a white man began attacking them with a knife. Later 18 year old Nia Wilson passed away from knife wounds to her throat.

Ezell Ford

On the 11th of August 2014 African – American man Ezell Ford died after being shot by Los Angeles police officers.

Michael Brown Jr

On the 9th of August 2014 Michael Brown Jr died after being shot 6 times by a police officer.

Stephon Clark

On the 18th of March 2018 Stephon Clark was in his grandmothers backyard when he was fatally shot by police.

Charleena Lyles

In 2017 a pregnant mother of 4 was fatally shot after ringing police officers to report a burglary at her apartment. The two police officers fired at her, the injuries resulting in the loss of her life. Police alleged she attempted to attack them when they arrived.

Walter Scott

On the 4th of April 2015 Walter Scott died at the hands of a white police officer.

Keith Scott

On September 20th 2016 Keith Scott was shot and killed by a police officer. The incident sparked peaceful Black Lives Matter protests across the U.S.

Sandra Bland

On the 13th of July 2015 Sandra Bland died, it is believed the cause of her death was suicide. Sandra was found dead in her jail cell 3 days after she was thrown in jail for a minor traffic-light offence.

Saheed Vassell

In 2019 Saheed Vassell was walking through New York carrying a pipe, which local police mistook for a gun. They shot him not realising exactly what he was carrying, he died as a result of the gun shot wound.

Say their names. These names are all real people. People who had families, people who had dreams, people who had lives, people who are no longer with us. Please don’t ignore the real world or think we can’t do anything, everyone is important and if we are to stop racism the message needs to be heard. Never underestimate what you can do. Everyone’s voice counts.

Thank you for reading today’s post. Today’s post was another serious post about real issues. I have done some research and tried to educate myself as best I can on the subject and I encourage you to do the same. Have a wonderful day and stay safe!

Black Lives Matter

Black people and Indigenous people have been mistreated and abused for centuries. It is a practise that has lasted too long and must be changed. Your race and the colour of your skin should not matter, we are all human. This post is all about the mistreatment of the African-American people. This is a call for change, something must be done to handle the violence and abuse that has been, and continues to be, inflicted upon them. I am calling for change.

Before I get on with this post I would like to address something that I have come across quite often. I would like to ask you a question. When you hear the words Black lives matter, what is your immediate response? Is it to agree to the statement or counter it with all lives matter? Or do you go on with everyday life like nothing has happened? If you feel like responding to that statement with “all lives matter” or “all lives are worth the same”, I would like you to think about the impact of your words. Saying all lives matter is like bringing a present to a friends party and saying it’s for your cousin who’s birthday is next week, because her birthday matters too. It is like pinning a poster for your lost cat over the top of someone else’s for their lost dog, because all pets are worth the same. You see what I mean? Also if you say all lives matter and truly believe what you’re saying, you’ll acknowledge that all lives won’t matter until Black ones do too. It is not just your words that can impact others, it can also be your silence. If you don’t say anything, you have chosen the side of the opposer. You don’t have to do much, just show your support, educate yourself on the horrible things that happen in our world and spread the word. Tell others about all these dreadful events that occurs in our world every day. Think of all our Black and Indigenous people, they are all human too. I don’t mean this to upset or anger anyone I am simply asking that you think before you say. Now on with the post.

African – Americans

As most know African-Americans were enslaved throughout the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries. Although some things have improved, they are still disregarded and harmed unfairly. Recently there was an incident where an African – American man died a tragic and unjust death. His name was George Floyd. He had a life, a family and dreams. Black Lives Matter is an international movement that was founded in 2012 after the death of African – American teenager Trayvon Martin. Since Mr Floyds death there has been an uproar of supporters to this movement. This is a result of people worldwide having enough with racism.

Government and Police Racism and Brutality

The story of George Floyd has made its way across the globe and has sparked outrage around the world and so it should. It is a tragic story of injustice and abuse. For anyone who doesn’t know the story of George Floyd I have linked it here. What happened to Mr Floyd is unacceptable. I am a white Australian girl on the other side of the world and I am pretty sure I’m not alone when I say I am outraged by this incident. George Floyd was not the only case of death at the hands of racism. Even in Australia our Indigenous Australians (the Aboriginal people) are nowhere near as well treated as the average white Australian. Around the world people are taking part in protests. People are angry. Fired up not just about Mr Floyd but about thousands of Black people whose lives have been taken from them by police. All those people who are afraid to walk past a police car for fear of being abused or killed. The stats for police abuse of African-Americans in the U.S are disgusting. To give you an insight I have included stats in the following section.

Police Brutality Statistics (USA)

The statistics for police abuse of black people is disturbing and completely wrong. African-Americans make up 12% of the total American population, but they make-up 37% of prisoners. Black people make up the majority of the American inmates with white Americans making the 2nd largest and Hispanics making the 3rd. African-Americans also make up 26.4% of the people killed by police. In America 1004 people were shot and killed by police in 2019. It has also been proven that Black women are killed at a higher rate than any other group of women. African-Americans are 10x more likely to be jailed than white Americans.

What Needs to Happen

The main issue in this is power. We need white people to come and fight, to use their white privilege to help fight for equality. We need people to break the silence and face the facts. We need people to educate themselves on the horrors that occur. We need people to speak out. Right now thousands of protests are happening worldwide Black and White people coming together for peace and equality. That is how we are going to get out of this. By helping each other many races, many colours, all human.

When the power of love overcomes the love of power the world will know peace.

Jimi Hendrix

What You Can do

There are many places you can campaign or donate. If you want to do neither of those, spread the word. Post on your social media platforms use your voice. Research all the horrible things that happen, a lot of which we don’t hear about. Take control and educate yourself . You have a voice, use it to change the world. If you do want to donate I have a link below. I also have links below for great websites you can use to learn more.

Places to Research

Donate to I have placed the link below

Thank you for reading this post I hope that it has been informative or has sparked your voice. I encourage you to speak out in a peaceful way. Use your voice for the benefit of others and our world as a whole. Work together towards equality, peace and unity. I hope you’re all safe and well. – Sophie

Photos From: uncustomary| self – love + creativity on Pinterest. Photos From: Nykeiria Chaney on Pinterest