The death of George Floyd in the US was a horrible incident that impacts all of us. The aftermath across the US and UK around the world show us that there is growing anger at the injustice of racism. As our CEO Roland stated in his recent message to staff BAME:
“Black Lives Matter is as much about the systems that support and propagate structural discrimination and racism as it is about specific acts of racism. We have much more to do to tackle the underlying causes of structural inequality and the lack of diversity at the most senior levels of this organisation.”
Racism is not just acts of violence or hate against Black people or other people of colour. The statistics on health, education, employment and income show that racial inequality permeates Britain.
Those of us at CUH who are white might readily abhor overt acts of racism, but it is not something we are likely to have experienced directly. That lack of experience can make it difficult to properly understand racism or to be fully supportive of those who endure its impacts – large and small – every day. The day to day experience of Black colleagues is against a backdrop of micro-aggressions. These are less obvious and often unintentional, but they have the cumulative effect of creating an environment which is more challenging and draining. What can you do be an ally?
Here is what you can do to be an ally if you are white:
Listen to what Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic people are saying. Check in on your Black friends, family and colleagues and ask what you can do to support them.
Remember to acknowledge that there is a lot of hurt and pain. Do not be offended if you are trying to engage and someone is not automatically receptive. You should centre the conversation on their needs, rather than make a performance out of your allyship.
Amplify, and boost the voices of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic colleagues to ensure they are heard and ask – whose voices are not being heard or are not present in meetings? Whose voices are not being involved in decision making.
Do your own research and do not ask or expect BAME people to educate you. You could start with the suggested books and videos listed below.
Acknowledge your privilege
Understand that you have white privilege and think about how you can use this privilege to make change and educate others. This may not be an easy topic but start by educating yourself and reading on the topic such as this paper White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack by Peggy McIntosh.
Speak up and challenge racism
Speak up and challenge racism in all its forms – don’t be a bystander.
Take action to challenge racism, support our BAME staff network and the Trust’s Workforce race equality action plan to address race inequality at the Trust.
Resources to help you:
- Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race by Reni-Eddo Lodge
- How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi
- Brit(ish) by Afua Hirsch
- Natives: Race and Class in the Ruins of Empire by Akala
- White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism by Robin DiAngelo
Useful guides to allyship
- White saviour vs ally – Actress and comedian Amanda Seales explains the differences between a white saviour and a white ally: https://youtu.be/WBYTxzuGiYc
- Deconstructing White Privilege with Dr. Robin DiAngelo: https://youtu.be/h7mzj0cVL0Q
Talking about race with white people
- Author and journalist Renni Eddo-Lodge explains what happens when she tries to talk about race with white people: https://youtu.be/1SynR1NYcpo
- Reni Eddo-Lodge: Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race: https://youtu.be/2vJZdeSqfFY
- Everyday racism: what should we do? Akala: https://youtu.be/uZUvjAJGFkM