“If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.” – Desmond Tutu
On Monday, May 25th between 8-8:30PM, officers responded to an ALLEGED forgery in progress just south of downtown Minneapolis. When officers arrived, they found George Floyd (who was identified as the suspect) in his vehicle and ordered him out. George, who resisted arrest was handcuffed and pinned down to the ground by officers (4 in total). One of the arresting officers, Derek Chauvin did the unthinkable when he felt the need to put his knee on the neck of George Floyd, keeping it there for over 8 minutes. Keeping it there while hearing George’s pleas for help. Keeping it there while George repeatedly exclaimed “I can’t breathe”. Keeping it there until his body went limp, he lost consciousness and eventually died.
Now, as this nightmare continues to unfold, here are some of the thoughts I can’t ignore….
1) This was an ALLEGED forgery. George was ALLEGEDLY paying for something with a counterfeit $20 bill.
2) At what point did we stray from innocent until proven guilty?
3) When the hell did it become appropriate, or even humane to put your knee on someones neck as a way of restraining them?
4) What the HELL were the other officers doing who were at the scene? I can only assume that as a police officer, you take an oath to serve and protect. Why did NO ONE do anything to stop this senseless murder from happening??
5) Would this same amount of brutality have been thrust upon a WHITE suspect? A white person who was suspected of using a counterfeit $20 bill? That was a rhetorical question because of course we know the answer to that.
Does the name Dylann Roof ring a bell to anyone? You know, the 21 year old white supremacist who went into a church in South Carolina + fatally gunned down 9 innocent African Americans. Now, if you google this terrorists name, you’ll likely see photos of him being handcuffed + led out of the church in a shockingly respectful manner….and that’s for cold blooded murder. Further to that, google his name + I guarantee you’ll see “mentally ill” somewhere close by. So tell me friends, what the hell is going on?? No seriously, help me to understand or make sense of this. When 87% of US mass shootings are committed by Caucasian males between the ages of 13-56 what the HELL is wrong with us as a society? That people are brutalized and killed for far lesser crimes SOLELY based on the colour of their skin.
I’ve written & rewritten this post so many times because I didn’t want to be too blunt or come across as being too hostile or for heaven’s sake, make anyone uncomfortable. But a man was MURDERED, it was recorded and we all watched it, likely several times. The disgrace of an officer who committed this heinous crime is said to be charged with 3rd degree murder (which is disgusting) and the other buffoons who stood by and watched have yet to be charged. And we have the audacity to wonder why the world is on fire and in an uproar? It’s 2020 not 1920, why the heck is this still a thing? And why is it okay with us? Because if it wasn’t okay then it wouldn’t be happening, plain and simple.
Since hearing George’s pleas for help, watching the life leave his body at the hands of the people who are hired to protect us, I haven’t felt right posting on Instagram. How can you post about the perfect summer gloss or latest eye shadow palette when there’s something SO much bigger going on. As I started to read more and as the protests started to erupt and the world was literally on fire, I’ve been at a loss for words.
I’ve cried because I’m SO confused.
I’ve cried because I’m SO upset.
I’ve cried because I’m SO frustrated.
I’ve cried because I’m SO incredibly mad.
And I’ve cried because I’M, WE’RE part of the problem.
I also stopped posting because I didn’t know if I could speak up, what I would even say, or if I was even entitled to have an opinion. I’m not black and I’m speaking on something I know NOTHING about. And THIS my friends, is the problem and it brings us to the topic of white privilege.
White privilege refers to the collection of benefits that white people receive in a racially structured society in which they are at the top of the racial hierarchy. I remember first hearing this term and thinking, well that doesn’t describe me, it can’t. Until I read + did my own research, did I finally even understand what the term meant. And boy was I friggen’ wrong. So few of us acknowledge the simple privileges we have solely because we were born… white. Not because of what we’ve accomplished, the good things we’ve done to help society, humanity and the world, because we just happened to be born with a certain skin colour.
While I encourage you to do your own research on white privilege (and MANY other topics to come in this post), here are a few questions for you:
Have you ever been called a racial slur?
Have you been followed in a store unnecessarily?
Has someone ever crossed the street to avoid passing you?
Has someone ever clinched their purse in an elevator with you?
Have you ever been accused of not being able to afford something expensive?
Have you ever been pulled over by the police for no valid reason?
Have you been bullied solely based on the colour of your skin?
Have you ever been denied service solely based on your race?
Never once have I experienced any of those things + it’s almost hard to fathom that something like this would happen to anyone because it seems SO unfair. The problem my friends is that we “forget”, we choose to ignore the fact that this happens to people of colour every.single.day. We put it out of our minds because it makes us uncomfortable and maybe it feels like something that’s SO much bigger than us and there’s no way we can help it, or better yet, stop it. By doing that, we’re allowing it. We’re saying it’s okay. And for many, they’re saying “it doesn’t affect me” so it’s not my problem. We hear about it on the news, we say it’s awful and then we go about our day. We don’t do anything. We don’t speak up. WE.DO.NOTHING. And then it happens again, and it gets worse. People die and why? I don’t know if George’s senseless death caused such a frenzy only because we all saw it. We watched it happen time and time again. We saw his body become lifeless. We heard his cries for help. And we SAW the smug look on that piece of garbage’s face as he looked on, ignoring George, a human being.
George sadly isn’t the first, and I’m so afraid he’s not going to be the last. And while deaths at the hands of the people who are hired to protect us are such a betrayal, racism has reared it’s ugly head with so many other racial related crimes.
In this year alone, here are a few names you all should know:
Ahmaud Arbery: This 25 year old was jogging through a neighbourhood when he was chased and fatally shot by a WHITE father and son who believed he was a burglar. It wasn’t until video’s surfaced months later that arrests were made.
Breonna Taylor: This 26 year old aspiring EMT + nurse was shot and killed during a botched raid my police in her own home.
David McAtee: This 53 year old (who was the owner of a popular Kentucky BBQ spot was known to cops because he fed them his famous BBQ…FOR FREE) was fatally shot while police were enforcing a curfew during the protests.
Sean Reed: This 21 year old U.S. veteran was allegedly involved in a police pursuit when he parked his car and began to run. The officer in pursuit allegedly tasered Sean and then shot and killed him. Unbeknownst to police, Sean was filming a Facebook live so the stream picked up the whole incident and more importantly picked up the officers standing over Sean’s deceased body taunting him.
William Green: This 43 year old gentleman was unarmed and was removed from his car, handcuffed, buckled into the back of a police car and shot multiple times. It has yet to be revealed why Mr. Green was ever taken into police custody.
If you look at the number of black people who have been murdered by police in 2020 alone, you will see that the victims posed NO threat to police.
For those who were pulled over for no apparent reason, who were violently removed from their cars + the ones that resisted arrest, tell me how murder is the right response! Why are guns being drawn and set off SO quickly? Are police officers not trained to try to diffuse a situation without the use of force? If the world got rid of racial profiling (+ police were trained properly), we would still have the precious lives of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and so many more with us.
After days of watching the news, I’ve finally had to turn the channel because we’re ONLY seeing flames, looting and angry African Americans of all ages. The problem with this is that it’s causing people to make stereotypical (AND racist) judgements based on what the media is selecting to show, because maybe that makes for better TV? But you know what, shame on CNN + Fox News for fuelling the fire because it’s not making anything better.
What people NEED to remember is…
Looters and protestors are NOT the same thing!
A lot of the people doing the most damage, being violent, setting fire to churches…they’re WHITE people. They’re white suprematists and anarchists who have their own effing agenda. So please, next time you decide to turn on the news and see the countless cities ablaze, do NOT jump to racist conclusions. In 2020, people are angry. They’re angry because they’re STILL having to fight to be heard, to be treated as equals. And you know what, enough is enough. Tell me friends, how is this a world that you want to live in, to raise children in?
Now, today I woke up to #blackouttuesday on Instagram. It’s a day where people are encouraged to hit the pause button on their regular content to listen + only share content that’s relevant to what is going on in the world.
It eased 0.000001% of the pain in my heart to scroll through the app and see a sea of black pages. That being said, I was SO disappointed and I’ll even say ashamed to see some ass hats continue to post their smiling selfies or makeup flatlays as if it was just a regular day. You’re telling me that you can’t take a day off of your self promotion to take a stand for an issue that in 2020, should NOT be an issue??? I mean I get it. We all want an Instagram page that’s pretty and colour coordinated. But you know what, I would delete my Instagram if it was going to make any kind of difference to what is going on. Needless to say, I was so sickened by it that anyone who continued to post their regular content…has been unfollowed.
Instagram can serve as the perfect distraction. And on a bad day, or after months of being in quarantine due to COVID-19 it’s just what we need to forget about the fact we haven’t been able to see our friends for months, to be in public spaces for months. It allows you to feel like you’re still connected to the outside world, and for that, Instagram is perfect. My friends, THIS is not one of those things that we need a distraction from. Actually, what we need right now is the opposite of a distraction. The issue of racism and police brutality needs to be SO in our faces that we can’t escape it. It needs to be SO in our faces that we NEED to act and do better and to say that this is no longer acceptable. And so, along with so many of you, I’ve chosen to mute myself from June 1st-7th.
For this week, you will not see a selfie, a lipstick or a makeup flatlay from me. What you will see are a whole lotta facts, stats and ways that you can help, ways that you can educate yourself to end this disgusting behaviour. In the last week, I’ve seen the term “anti-racist” so many times. It’s not enough to not be racist, educate yourself on how you can be ANTI-racist.
I get it, no amount of quotes will fix this. Trust me, I get it. But I had to do something and in my own way, this was me having a voice, even if it’s only to my 2900 followers. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, this is NOT a black problem, this is NOT a U.S. problem. This is a HUMAN problem.
If you’re not speaking up about this, if you’re allowing your friends to make racially insensitive comments, get off your ass and say something. Call people on their shit. Don’t you dare claim that you’re fighting for justice, you’re fighting for equality for all but you’re too uncomfortable to call people out on it. If your friends are slinging around racially insensitive comments, perhaps it’s time to take a look in the mirror and ask yourself why you’re inviting those people into your life. Racism is racism is racism. And if you hear people say something + you say nothing, you’re just as guilty! I don’t care if it’s wrapped up with a pretty little bow and called a joke, it’s NOT funny and you are part of the problem.
This starts with YOU.
It starts with YOU to have uncomfortable conversations with your family and friends. It starts with YOU to self reflect on the narrative that YOU’RE speaking. It starts with YOU to educate yourself on the inequalities in this world, on the injustices in this world. It starts with YOU to make sure the buck stops here. You don’t want to live in a world where THIS happens, do you? Great, well then what are YOU going to do to make sure that happens?
For those of you who’ve posted on Instagram, that’s amazing! Because not only does that mean that you’re watching the news and you’re aware of what’s happening in the world, but you’ve taken a stand and you’re using your voice. Whether you’ve got 5, 10 or 10K followers on Instagram, your message is out there. You acknowledge that what is happening is SO incredibly wrong and you need, no you demand change.
Stop what you’re doing and sign the Change.org Justice for George Floyd petition right now! Seriously, I’ll wait. You can click the link on a laptop, a smartphone, a tablet. There’s NO excuse for you not to.
I took a page out of Chrissy Teigen’s book + donated to the LA, Brooklyn, Chicago, Minnesota and Louisville bailout fund to help those that were arrested while peacefully protesting. It’s disgusting and any little bit helps. If you don’t want to donate to that cause, there are SO many other incredible organizations that you can donate to that I guarantee will be the best way to spend your $$$ this year!
Now, if you’re not able to donate (which is totally fine), there are a ton of non-monetary ways you can support the cause! Here are a few other ways you can help out without opening your wallet…
If you’re living on this planet, it’s your responsibility to educate yourself and to fight for this. If you like to read, there are plenty of books to help educate you. If you prefer to watch a movie or series, there are tons of shows on Netflix, Hulu and other streaming services that will help fill you with the information you NEED to know.
And beyond that, spend a little more time researching where your money is going! I can assume that many of you found your way here because we share a love for makeup + all things beauty. Well friends, as of May 31st, take a look at the top beauty brands that have yet to donate a cent to the cause. It’s shocking right?! I will keep my eye on this list to see if anything changes but until then, I’ll be MUCH more likely to give my money to one of the brands you see on the far right column. The brands who CARE. The brands who won’t just take your money + keep it for their likely WHITE, male CEO.
Further more, next time you’re in the market for some new makeup, take a look at some of these black owned AND cruelty free beauty brands!
As of today, Tuesday, June 2nd, Derek Chauvin has been charged with 3rd degree murder + the 3 other officers who stood by and watched a man die, have yet to be brought to justice. When we look back on May 25th, the day that a man was murdered at the hands of a police officer, there wasn’t just ONE crooked cop, there were 4! 100% of the officers that were there that day FAILED their duty as police officers. More importantly, they failed humanity.
This isn’t a U.S. problem, this isn’t a problem that’s up to the black community to fix. This is WHITE person problem, this is a YOU problem, this is a ME problem, this is a HUMAN problem.
Friends, I hope all of you have the same passion, the same fire in your bellies as I do to make sure that the buck stops here. I hope that from this moment forward, you will live an anti-racist life and dedicate yourselves to making the world a MUCH better, loving place. A place where everyone is accepted, loved and treated equally.
Now, these are the pictures the news outlets haven’t shown you, and I think we all need it.
Enough is enough.
Of course all lives matter, but friends, black lives matter.
Stay safe & be kind to one another,