OPINION: I'm pledging to be lead a more understanding life on a daily basis

Black Lives Matter protest Bury St Edmunds

We can all do a job in helping to understand the struggles faced by groups who feel threatened by their race or sexuality, says Ruth Davies - Credit: Sonya Duncan

After the murder of George Floyd bringing the Black Lives movement to the forefront of conversations I suspect we all learned a thing or two.

I thought I was anti-racist, an ally for anyone in a minority group and had it all sussed however, when it came to things like white privilege there was still so much misunderstanding on my part, which without that conversation would have kept me in the dark.

Nobody in this day and age can afford to be unthoughtful for we all need to have our finger on the pulse of progression to enable an easier life for everyone.

We can’t ignore when we are told we are wrong.

It’s not enough to say “I’m not a racist”, we have to show we are not racists by proactively seeking education for ourselves and generations of the future.

The perpetuation of good behaviours over bad. For me, simply having white privilege explained like this made my understanding much clearer.

Someone said: “You, as a white person, can be from any class of society. You can be poor, you can be beaten, trodden on, homeless, addicted, hated, passed over, all sorts of anything negative can happen to you and you can be discriminated against just as anyone else can.

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"However, nothing bad that happens to you, no discrimination towards you, will ever be because of the colour of your skin.”

One line from one conversation and the penny dropped deeper than it had before.

I’m not saying I “get” everything because I don’t but I do strive to be the right things, say the right things and feel the right things while I teach my children to do the same.

Not just with issues of racism but with lots of things taking into consideration all people’s feelings from minority groups and beyond.

Rome wasn’t built in a day but we’ve come a long way in just a decade showing easily on television programmes what was acceptable to be broadcast ten years ago compared to now.

An episode of Gavin and Stacey springs to mind when they describe a black character by circling their faces saying “you know... him!”. I gasped when I saw a re-run recently… How could that be?

How did I watch that episode and not gasp the first time? It was a favourite series of mine but that little nugget of racist script went entirely over my head when first watched making me as much of a racist as the writers, actors and producers.

I’m sure not one of us assuming a racist mindset. This was born from a learned behaviour of acceptability which thankfully has begun to change.

As parents we need a constant on-going conversation on acceptable language and deeper thinking which is hard changing when ways are so inground in us and when people say things like “Well, it’s the world gone mad!” we need to have that conversation with those people even harder and faster to make the voice heard in a way that really sinks in.

It’s OK to have been in a state of misunderstanding in the past. We do need to move forwards though and accept flaws have been had. To make light of big issues and say “Political correctness is over the top” is simply burying one’s head in the sand.

Of course, some things are indeed political correctness gone made and when I read the other day that we can’t use the word 'staycation' anymore, apparently it’s offensive because a holiday is a holiday whether it’s taken in this country or abroad, it did make my eyes roll.

To make issue over such trivia is absolutely taking away from important issues like making black lives matter, supporting the LGBTQ community and global warming. There are many things we could and should be getting hot under the collar about but calling a holiday by another name is definitely not one of them.

There are some people who will fight the fight of anything going. There are some people who feel offended by the most insignificant things (such as a staycation) and then there are others who want to say there are no issues, nothing to see, nothing to learn and absolutely no change necessary.

I hope to show my children a balance in the middle where they can let the small stuff go but stand up for the greater good. That’s what life and being socially conscious is all about.

I’m afraid if I offend you by calling my staycation just that then I don’t give a monkeys but if I ever do anything which is truly offensive and means something to hurt you then please do pull me up on it and get my head out of that sand.

I think we should all be pledging to do the same in a kind, polite, non-aggressive, progressive way.

Don’t saturate important messages by allowing heat under your collar about the ridiculous but do shout from the rooftops when things aren’t right!

Ruth Davies has a parenting blog at www.rocknrollerbaby.co.uk

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