You may or may not know about the "muting" that happened a couple of weeks ago.
A trend went viral on social media that was encouraging White people to mute themselves and the White people they follow so that voices from BIPOC could be elevated and amplified.
I participated in this movement.
For a week on Instagram, I only consumed, posted, and shared content from BIPOC creators, activists, and business leaders.
This may seem like a small lifestyle change, but it actually had a profound impact on my learning and understanding of Black lives.
It's amazing how much content we consume in a day. I was no longer listening to my normal business podcasts and instead listened to 1619 - a podcast about the history of slavery and the evolution of Black people in America.
Instead of watching a training on how to use my email marketing platform, I was watching a Diversity and Inclusion training.
Instead of resharing posts about being weight inclusive, I was sharing content about ways to support black-owned businesses.
Via me staying quiet, listening to BIPOC, and doing my own research, I've learned a ton. A few of the biggies are listed below. 👇
Want to do your own learning? I've got a Google Doc of anti-racism resources and I keep adding to it as I find more! Totally public, no email required to access!
1. Racism is deeply embedded in our American history and this is still showing up in today’s systems.
We talk about racism as if it’s a thing of the past.
Maybeeee overt racism has gotten better (although I live in the South and it’s still rampant down here), but systemic racism and systemic oppression are just as bad as ever before.
Our government, our schools, the workforce, our healthcare system… just to name a few… are all still steeped in racial discrimination, race disparities, and race inequities.
We have systems in place that are perpetuating the struggles of Black Americans while glorifying, supporting, and promoting White Americans. The divide isn’t getting better.
I knew this on some level prior to the past few weeks, but I had no idea to what extent we need help. Big time help.
2. The prison system is the new slavery
I’m not going to say much about this, because there’s a documentary that says it better than I ever could and it needs to be
mandatory viewing for all White people.
Go watch 13th. It’s available for free streaming on Netflix and YouTube and will blow your mind. And hopefully, soften your heart. And make you angry. And make you want to change the world.
The premise of the documentary is this:
The 13th amendment “abolished slavery.” Except there’s a clause in the amendment that states “except as punishment for a crime.”
Guess what folks? Slavery is still alive and well. It’s just happening in our prison systems.
When Black slaves were “freed” suddenly imprisonment rates skyrocketed. Mass incarceration is at an all-time high with 1 out of every 3 Black people predicted to spend time in the prison system.
WHAT. WHAT. WHAT. WHAT.
We have a massive problem on our hands and I am embarrassed at how little I knew about it.
GO watch 13th.
3. Being anti-racist is different than “not being a racist.”
Many people, myself included, would not ever consider ourselves racists. And when we don’t consider ourselves racist, it becomes easy to turn a blind eye to race discriminations.
It’s easy to think… “oh that’s someone else’s problem. I’m not the cause. I love Black people.”
Well, fine, I’m glad you’re not actively perpetuating racism.
But I’ve learned our country needs a whole lot more than that.
We need people who are anti-racists meaning they take a stand against racism via actions.
Being anti-racists means that you pledge to:
Continue learning about racism, the history of slavery, and what it’s like to be Black in our country.
Put your money where your mouth’s at. Shop from black business owners, make donations to organizations supporting Black Lives Matter, you hire Black people, etc.
Rally, show up, and advocate for Black people’s rights because we, White people, have a voice and a platform and we need to use it to amplify the voices of marginalized populations.
4. Calling Black people Black with a capital “B” is often more accurate than African-Americans
I've shared some IG posts below from Glo @glographics because she said it best:
5. My business IG feed was previously entirely white.
This is hard to admit and, honestly, it came as a surprise to me.
I've always appreciated diversity (again, let's make note that this is different than being actively anti-racists) and so I assumed that my social media feed, book choices, and podcast queue would all reflect this.
I was wrong.
When I muted myself so I could learn from BIPOC, I quickly realized that I did not have a diverse feed at all.
My business IG is devoted to following clients/potential clients, leaders in the eating disorder field, and leaders in the entrepreneurship space. And all the people I was following were white, young, able-bodied, progressive, clones of each other.
My IG feed is now one of my favorite places to be because I've started following people of all genders, races, and ages.
Again, discrimination is not always intentional or conscious. It's easy to flock to people who look and think like us.
That's why we have to be intentional about seeking out different viewpoints and diversifying from whom we learn.
It's a priority for me moving forward to invest my money in learning about eating disorders and how to run a business from BIPOC as well as other minorities.
6. I learned a new term: performative allyship
This term refers to when people put their allyship on display as a way to boost their own sense of moral virtue.
We've seen this with many big businesses recently who are announcing that #blacklivesmatter even though they don't have policies or donation pledges in place to back this up.
Performative allyship sends the message that one is anti-racist, primarily as a way to appear "good" or as if they are "doing the right thing." There's ego involved.
If you're taking pictures at a protest to post on social media just to show that you were there... then you may be protesting as a performative ally.
I've had to continuously keep myself in check by asking "why am I announcing my most recent petition signing or donation made?" Is it to get applause from others or to encourage others to take action too.
7. My eyes were opened to police brutality
This is another one that's hard to admit, but I truly had no idea of the staggering number of BIPOC who have been murdered at the hands of an armed police officer.
Over the past few weeks, I have read countless articles depicting tragic, violent, and completely unjustifiable murders of BIPOC and the White police officers are still uncharged.
I've been signing petitions and emailing local officials left and right advocating for police officers to be held accountable.
But this isn't a problem that just arose recently. This has been going on for decades. And there are past cases that will never get the public attention that George Floyd and Breonna Taylor are getting.
This is disgusting and unfair. I believe we are at a crossroads as a society and that talk of defunding the police is a conversation that needs to continue.
8. I’ve learned how my ability to stay ignorant of these things for so long is the epitome of white privilege and an example of how messed up our system is.
It's not okay that I learned all of these things at the age of 30 years old solely because there's a nation-wide uprising happening.
I recognize that I should have sought out this learning sooner. And I also feel angry and terrified that none of this is being taught in schools. Or that White parents aren't having these conversations with their children the way Black parents are.
We have to do better. We have to acknowledge our white privilege and then use it.
I have power.
I have a voice.
I have influence.