Parenting through Disability, Art and Feminism

Tag: race

Fighting White Complacency

White people, particularly in the UK, have been too complacent in the face of racism. White people should never have been complacent.

I, as a white person, was complacent but I am not going to say that we should no longer be comlplacent because that implies there was a point where there was no race issues. However, my life has allowed me to be complacent and it pains me that it is the death of yet another black man in America at the hands of the police to finally and fully open my eyes.

Who was George Floyd?

George Floyd was a man in his 40s working as a security guard in a new city when he was killed by police officers, . He was described by loved ones as a gentle giant and a friend to all. One officer placed his knee on Floyd’s neck while three further offices stood by, listened and watched as Floyd pleaded for his life. All four officers have been fired, but that is not enough.

Victims of Police Violence

White people should never have been complacent because there have already been deaths of more than 35 black people at the hands of police in America in 2020. I say more than because the data has over 100 victims of police violence where the race data isn’t available.

White people should never have been complacent because we ask black parents how they teach their boys to stay alive rather than teaching our white children not to kill. White people should never have been complacent because if you think the ‘race’ problem is ‘just’ an american problem you are not Looking close enough at your own country’s history.

Colour blind is privilege

Complacent White people who “don’t see race” or “aren’t racist” or “would never condone violence against anyone” are as culpable in their silence as the perpetrators of hate crimes. And if you’re a white person reading this and thinking, that feels a bit much, then check your prívele h.

I’ll be honest, as I wrote in my post only last week, race is not my comfort zone when it comes to social justice advocacy. But you know what? My discomfort is not worth more than someone’s life and nor is yours. So we are going to raise our kids to be better… and our white kids will learn how not to kill so that black kids don’t have to learn to stay alive.

I am scared I am going to get it wrong, but I also know that my silence is more harmful. So we are reading those books, we are going to discuss police brutality in an age appropiate way and we are going become a refuge for any person of colour who needs it.

Do the Work

If you want more information about this do the work. Find The Hang Your Heart Project, make reparations by donating to black led organisations fighting for social justice, read Me and White Supremacy by Layla Saad. Do the work.

DO NOT slip into a black person’s DMs asking what you should do. DO NOT just offer thoughts and prayers, absolve yourself of guilt and move on. DO NOT raise your kids to kill black people. BE BETTER.

A Found Poem

I wrote a ‘found poem’ using some of the things I saw being said about the situation on Social Media.

ay Angelou - Art needs to ask us “what do we think is our reason for being on this earth? What do we think is our right to abide on this planet? What is our duty to this planet? To other forms of life, with whom we are connected? To our own species?” Maya Angelou

Alexa play Seat At the Table by Solange on Repeat
Give me a warning. 
They said the quiet part out loud yesterday “human capital stock”
Give me a warning.
Trigger warning: racism, police brutality

His name was George Floyd and his life fucking mattered.
Can’t WAIT to hear all the white supremacist excuses for this. They’ll be coming in hot.
You’re the real racist for talking about race.
Says Karen, while worrying about the white cops that lost their jobs.
But I’m not a bad person.
Says Amy as she weaponises her white fragility upon a bird watcher.
I never enslaved or colonised anyone. Aren’t there more important things to worry about. You’re too angry about this.
White people we all have an Amy Copper inside us. Let’s destroy it.

Alexa, play seat at the table by Solange on repeat
Give me a warning. 
They said the quiet part out loud yesterday “human capital stock”
Give me a warning.
Trigger warning: racism, police brutality.

We cannot keep saying: I don’t understand why? How could they do this?
We have to stop weaponising our white fragility. We have to stop allowing our whiteness to close our hearts and our minds to the pain and suffering. We have to stop being colour blind. 
We cannot keep saying: I don’t understand why? How could they do this?
White people we all have an Amy Copper inside us. Let’s destroy it.
Do the work. Do the the work. Do. The. Work. 
When you’re given a statistic ask what you’re not being told
And
Stop calling the Cops.
a, play seat at the table by Solange on repeat
Give me a warning.
They said the quiet part out loud yesterday “human capital stock”
Give me a warning.
Trigger warning: racism, police brutality.

Sitting here on my own front porch watching this man go silent is one of the worst things I’ve ever seen. This man is dead. He had a name. His name was George Floyd.
I just want to live - a fundamental human right. I just want to live.
I can’t breathe. His name was Eric Garner. I can’t breathe.
My comfort is not worth more than a life. I think the best thing we can do about it is just talk and not be afraid to talk about uncomfortable things.

Ya fue suficiente hace mucho tiempo. How many more lives and loved ones will need to be lost before this ends?

Alexa, play seat at the table by Solange on repeat
Give me a warning.
They said the quiet part out loud yesterday “human capital stock”
Give me a warning.
Trigger warning: police brutality, racism

Her name was Sarah Reed
A very British Problem
Our community and our world must be better. White people must be better.
It is not enough to be not-a-racist. You have to be actively and eagerly and boldly anti racist.
Dear white people… this is your moment to stand up and speak out.
This will always continue and never end.
Why? Why am I writing another post like this?

We cannot keep saying: I don’t understand why? How could they do this?
Do the work. Do the the work. Do. The. Work.

Say her name Breanna Taylor
Say his name Sheku Bayoh.
Say their names David Oluwale, Mark Duggan, Cherry Groce, Christopher Alder, Jean Charles de Menezes, Azelle Rodney, Leon Briggs, Istiak Yusuf.
A very British Problem
We cannot keep saying: I don’t understand why? How could they do this?
Do the work. Do the the work. Do. The. Work.

Alexa, play seat at the table by Solange on repeat
Give me a warning.
They said the quiet part out loud yesterday “human capital stock”
Give me a warning.
Trigger warning: racism, police brutality.

I just… I am so sick and tired of black parents being asked what will you tell your black son to protect them from dying? When nobody asks white parents what do you tell your white children to stop them from killing?
Exhausted. Grieving. Enraged.
This is why black parents never sleep soundly.
Please check on your BIPOC friends. We are not okay.
Exhausted. Grieving. Enraged.
We experience trauma to our bodies, our mind, our spirits.
Being black should not mean being less likely to survive.
Black people are less likely to survive because the systems we have in place are not built to protect black people.


George Floyd did not deserve this. We did not deserve this. As much as I believe powerful quiet protest where has that gotten black and brown people?
Where did that get George Floyd?
We cannot keep saying: I don’t understand why? How could they do this?

Alexa, play seat at the table by Solange on repeat.
Give me a warning.
They said the quiet part out loud yesterday “human capital stock”
Give me a warning.
Trigger warning: racism, police brutality.

Sharing footage helps propel the mass desensitisation against black bodies. We don’t need help with that since we are already subhuman.
They said the quiet part out loud yesterday “human capital stock”

Racism is everywhere.
This will always continue and never end.
He killed him because he was black. This man is dead. He had a name. His name was George Floyd and his life fucking mattered.

No more warnings.
No more triggers.
Dear white people… this is your moment to stand up and speak out.
DO THE WORK.

Raising My Kids to be Allies

Raising my kids to be better

I want my kids to be respectful, tolerant and an ally. I am a feminist, a disability activist and an equal rights campaigner. I live my life based on the truth in my heart that every person on this planet is worth of love, acceptance and integration. I truly believe that everyone’s unique differences are their strengths. But I am also aware of my privileges. I am a white person living in a predominantly white area of the UK. At the moment my I just do not know enough about race inequality to be as active an ally as I would like … and that means I also know I am not yet doing everything I can to ensure my children grow up as allies. So, I decided to use this quarantine time to do a little digging and a little teaching. Having a structure for our homeschool provided the perfect basis to begin this work. (You can see what else we have been up to here and here)

Why I was tailing to raise my kids to be allies

How I was going about allyship all wrong

So first up, I was shocked to discover that raising ‘colourblind’ children was not the way to go. It could, in fact, be causing harm. I know, there’s my privilege at work. So, what do I do? Thankfully, I stumbled across Rebekah Gienapp’s excellent blog which gave me a start in my thinking.

Next, I had to think about the ways my kids learn. So, I know my boys respond well to stories. Therefore, I needed to be more proactive in promoting those books that touch on race and other social justice themes. Unfortunately, a couple of my favourites (like Julian is a Mermaid) have been quarantined along with my mum about 15 miles away. A quick googling brought me a few others but I don’t want this to turn into a shopping list. Check out this blog, and this one, to find my inspirations.

How do you start to raise your kids to be allies?

Okay, okay. Books are a good start. BUT studies show that reading alone isn’t enough. We need to actively discuss differences to raise your kids to be allies. So, where to begin?

We started with Aesop’s Fables – the story of the Lion and the Mouse. I found a simple version of the story that was about three paragraphs long. I edited it to make it a little more child friendly. In order to help 6er better engage, I was inspired by the storytelling style used in Godly Play. Godly Play utilises images, objects and other devices to help children engage with the story. I made a few simple devices to help them visualise the story. I used images of a lion, a mouse and a few strips of paper for the net.

I would recommend you read the story out loud at least once to get used to speaking aloud. In the version below, you will also find instructions for moving the pieces in italics. Have a little go moving the pieces around as you speak to see what works best for your technique. I also urge you to really get into character, roaring and squeaking. Sometimes storytelling feels a bit silly, but I usually find thats when it is most engaging for the small ones.

When we reached the end of the story, 6er had great fun helping the mouse remove the net.

Using Aesop's Fable The Lion and The Mouse to raise my children to be allies
The Lion and the Mouse – Aesop’s Fables: An image of a mouse

Once we had finished the story, I used the lion and mouse pictures and the word cut outs. I asked 6er to place the words beneath the animal he felt they applied to – strong under the lion, quiet under the mouse etc. We had a brief discussion about the fact that it was not the appearance of the lion and the mouse looked that helped them in this story. I asked 6er to tell me some things that did help the mouse and lion in the end. He came up with lots of ideas including kindness, ingenuity, compassion etc.

The Family Connection

I didn’t want to just leave it there though. I then placed out some family photos. Unfortunately, there was more than one person in each photo, so I had to tell him which family member to focus on in each photo. I’d recommend using singular portraits. Then I pointed to all the words and said that they could be applied to different members of our family. I asked him to put a word under the member of the family he thought it best described. I then lead 6er in a discussion about what each of the characteristics might be an advantage. For instance, being physically weak meant that other people did jobs so Grandma was always available for hugs and chats. Although, my favourite response was

“Uncle Ben is big so he can hide his sweets where people can’t reach”.

6er

A Confession

Now, I’m going to get real with you. I’ve found this really hard to write. Talking about difference hasn’t come naturally to me. However, I also recognise how important it is for me to become more comfortable. When 6er was a baby, I read the NSPCC guidance on teaching the scientific names for body parts. BUT, like many people I was uncomfortable with lots of those words. I didn’t want my little to pick up on my discomfort. Genitals are not dirty words. To become comfortable with saying ‘vulva’, I said it to out loud every day until it didn’t feel weird.

Race and allyship are obviously more complex than becoming comfortable with the word ‘vulva’. It requires much more self reflection and work, in order to raise my children to be allies. But I also know that my children will pick up on my attitudes as I discuss these things with them. I feel I gained a lot of positives from this session but I know we have a long way to go. I intend to continue working through Me and White Supremacy by Layla Saad, alongside our lessons.

Resources

Below you will find the FREE resources I created for this session. There are images for storytelling, alongside a quick version of The Lion and the Mouse. I wrote the version of The Lion and the Mouse, so you can all finally benefit from my professional skills. If you’ve learned from my struggles, or would like to come on this journey of allyship alongside us, please sign up to the mailing list.