How do you write about what has been happening in America as a white man? My helplessness and shock at what I have been witnessing are tiny feelings compared to the terror and anger which must be being felt by the black community there. I cannot even put myself into their place. It is simply an impossible proposition for any white person, and especially a man. You see, nobody judges me according to my skin colour. We are all judged in some way, but these verdicts come upon by others usually remain in their own minds. This has not been, and is still not, the experience for many people in the world.
I am not an American so these events are happening from afar. I am British, and thus am from a very multicultural country. This means I have some experience of racism, not directed at me but it has been in my sphere. I have heard people speak racist words, I have seen dreadful news reports of racist acts. But I have to say that it has never approached the levels seen in the USA. A black British person with personal experience could definitely have different feelings on the subject of course.
That is the problem with trying to speak about this from my perspective. The closest I have ever come to discrimination is probably when I was more overweight, I am sure that I was judged by some for that. But that doesn’t even come close to entering the same arena as being judged for the colour of your skin.
So what am I trying to say? What is the point of this short article? It is simply that I feel lost and helpless. So what can I do? I can educate myself as much as I can. I can do my best to ensure that my children grow up with open minds, and possess the historical knowledge to attempt to understand where these problems come from. And I can hope that they will have the strength of character to stand against any discrimination which they see in their lives. If I was religious I would pray, but all I can do is send my love and hope a page may finally be turned in this continuing saga. It has to end eventually, doesn’t it?
Words © Neil Hayes and neilhayeswrites