This week as I sat in the bath with my four year old son, I showed him my hands and asked him what colour my skin was.
“A bit red because the water is hot.” is what he said.
He does not identify me as ‘white’. To him my skin colour and his skin colour is invisible. There has been no reason for him to think any differently so far. But the more I have thought about that conversation since, the more uncomfortable I have felt.
This week I’ve made a point of making myself uncomfortable and having truly raw and emotional conversations about racism and the Black Lives Matter movement. I thought I was fully aware of my white privilege. I’d taken the time to appreciate why it is important to not declare “All Lives Matter” and discussed this with family and friends. I had watched a number of brilliant documentaries and read as much as I could to become more self-aware. But what I hadn’t done was take the time to learn what real-life actions I could take to help lift black people.
Above is a screenshot from just one of these conversations I had with some of my fellow bloggers.
As a blogger, as a mum and as a manager, I am fortunate to have a multitude of platforms. I help support people, whether that’s my readers, my own children or my employees to live their best lives in the face of adversity. That was the whole point of why I started my blog. And it is a blog, a biographical log and so therefore from my perspective. But with a readership last month surpassing 100k visitors to this site, I appreciate that I can utilise this reach as an ally.
So today I’m asking you, particularly if you are white, to see the black, see the difference and see the difference in experience because there are things you can do to help. If you’re proud to not notice differences in skin, then you’re not noticing and acknowledging the struggle black people are experiencing based on the colour of their skin either.
So next time I’m in the bath with my son, I will explain that we are white and that some other people are black and as he grows I’ll highlight the ways he can behave to acknowledge difference so he can be a force for good.
I can’t singlehandedly stop racist US police officers from killing black men. But at the same time my discomfort in these conversations is nothing – NOTHING – compared to what those mothers are experiencing who have lost their boys.
So let’s together, begin to end inequality of experience through visibility.
Your call to action
You can start today by proudly signing the petition to mandate ethnicity pay gap reporting here https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/300105
Thank you to Timi aka Mr MoneyJar who highlighted the need for signatures to start the conversation in parliament on this topic.