Black Lives Matter: What can white people do to help?

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The last few weeks have probably resulted in people having uncomfortable conversations with friends or family because of the issues surrounding Black Lives Matter.

I should add I’m no expert and I have been learning too, but I did expect better from elected officials representing the Party to show empathy and clarity with their communications.

Earlier this month, Katharine Macy, the Accessibility, Diversity and Standards Officer for the Young Liberals, scheduled a call to discuss diversity.  Meraj Khan, the BAME representative on the diversity committee, Pushkin Defyer, the BAME Officer on Young Liberals Executive and I, as the Vice Chair for the Racial Diversity Campaign, were all asked to participate. We discussed Black Lives Matter, candidacy, and how to encourage more diverse members to get involved with activities the Young Liberals were organising. During the call, we decided to create a document of materials detailing things members could do to educate themselves on Black Lives Matter.

Here’s the document for you to view, credit goes to Katharine Macy for creating the document with ideas from Pushkin and myself. I would like to add this document isn’t perfect, it’s more a starter guide to learn and understand that Black Lives Matter.

Here are some other things you could do:

  • Look at your local party executive and ask yourself how many people of an ethnic minority sit on the executive?
  • Have your local representatives released a written statement about Black Lives Matter – if they haven’t, ask them why?
  • Have your local party undertaken unconscious bias training webinar?
  • What have your local community been saying on Black Lives Matter – how can you be supporting them?
  • Have you checked on BAME members in the Party to see how they are and how you can offer support.

We should be amplifying Black Lives Matter by supporting people of colour and being allies. If you still think ‘All Lives Matter’ at this current time, please go and learn by reading a book, watching a documentary, or listening to a podcast.

 

* Dipa Vaya is Vice-Chair of the Racial Diversity Campaign and Diversity Ambassador for 5050 Parliament.

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4 Comments

  • John Marriott 19th Jun '20 - 3:10pm

    @Dipa Vaya
    I recognise how many, if not all, economies over the ages have been built on sacrifices made by the common man. I also acknowledge that most civilisations have had people they have exploited, weather as slaves, serfs or prisoners. I have read a few books in my time, possibly not enough to form a balanced view. Two thingS I have learned about history is that we rarely learn from it and, consequently, it keeps repeating itself. We have clearly been here before.

    Of course black lives matter and what we have witnessed over many years in my lifetime alone, made now even more accessible by social media, of man’s inhumanity to man, is just not acceptable. But why beat the drum so vehemently at a time when we are ALL struggling to get on top of COVID-19? Everything else has got to be a distraction, worthy, no doubt, and something we need to resolve undoubtedly; but all it does is take the focus off the real enemy.

    So, as far as I and I know that many people are concerned, ALL lives matter. It’s typical that this slogan increasingly appears to have been highjacked by the extreme right. Unfortunately the activities of some people in the name of racial equality are just providing it with more ammunition.

  • BLM seems very popular among Lib Dem members, but with the rest of the UK voters perhaps not. Many see it as a rather hateful left wing organisation hellbent on destroying our history and culture. Certainly as a party stand against racism, but be careful who you stand side by side with. You need to know your electorate and the fact is that most of them think that Britain’s record on race relations is pretty damn good.

  • Michael Bukola 19th Jun '20 - 7:33pm

    @malc While it is clear that both black and white do not experience the same political realities, I am prepared to accept and defend your right to defy what most see as the rediscovering of black humanity and the recognition of black citizenship. Without such a confrontation between the liberal construction of colour-blindness and the normalization of the mainstream, the racist practices inherent in western democracies will persist. @John Marriott I recommend you keep reading starting with Joel Olson, The Abolition of White Democracy (2004)

  • This is a welcome article from Dipa. Living in London for much of my life my perspective on racial equality is based on lived experience in one of the most multicultural cities in the world. University colleagues and management are from across the world as are students and there is no concept of racial bias. All staff have diversity training as a matter of course. That applies equally to local schools, friends and neighbours.
    It is with some surprise, therefore, to read reports inferring institutional racism and deteriorating trends in the experience of BME staff in the NHS
    https://www.independent.co.uk/news/health/nhs-staff-racism-bme-ethnic-england-data-a9340601.html
    I recently taught a class of senior managers from the NHS and the make-up was as multi-cultural as you could wish for with more than 50% of the managers from a BME background. But this is London, so again a metropolitan perspective.
    Our local party has good executive participation from the Asian community but has made negligible progress in attracting volunteers from the black community. This seems to be the case for all parties including the Conservatives and Labour.
    It is not so easy to separate the causes of disadvantage from family background. length of time to integrate, English language proficiency, educationl background and culture e.g. why do Indians make much better progress in society than many from Pakistan or Nigerians fare better than those with a Caribbean background?
    One issue I think we could put much more focus on is to recognise that single parent households are the norm for many families today, whether it is young unmarried mothers or divorcees. Our Childcare and welfare services need to recognise this fact of modern life and ensure that single mums (or dads) and their children are not disadvantaged in housing, education and basic material support.

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