How to support BLM as a Lincoln student without silencing black voices
With plans for protests in Lincoln, what else can we do to support the Black Lives Matter movement
Protests are happening all over the world in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement with plans of protests occurring in Lincoln this week.
I appreciate the support and solidarity with this protest. I first feared that it would come across a bit performative. Lincoln is 95.6% white and the Lincolnshire county is 98.5% white. With a protest in Lincoln, it may look like you are speaking and standing for us, and not with us as there are very few in this city especially if there were no black people present.
While the motivation behind the protest is genuine, the proportion of white to black people in Lincoln can easily lead to the erasure of black voices despite not being the intention. As a white person in this situation, it’s important to amplify black voices and not speak for us but with us. Make sure you use your platform to share the voices of black people and not just speak on their behalf which I know is not the intention with this protest. As students and citizens of Lincoln, what you can do is;
Demand more from your students’ union and from the university
Ask them what they are going to do to move forward. Ask them how they are going to incorporate black and other BAME community members’ voices. Hold them to account and do not be afraid to speak up. Speak to your lecturers, demand that they include diversity in their reading lists and teaching content. All subjects have black people, women, LGBTQ+ as part of the history of the subject and you have the right to be taught all of those perspectives.
Coming together to demand more from your institution is not just for the black and BAME students but for all.
‘We are stronger in our diversity’
Listen to your black and BAME peers, attend events hosted by ACS and the BAME network. Engaging with people who are different to you will give you an insight into their lives and help reduce the biases you may have and see things from their perspectives. By working together we can evoke real change.
Demand more from your MPs
Ask them what they are willing to do for their constituents. If they have not taken a stance on the Black Lives Matter movement ask them why. As an MP, it is their duty to serve and help the people in the constituency even the small proportion of black people. As members of their constituency, it is your duty to ask what they are doing to help.
As citizens, we can help and support black-owned businesses in the city. These businesses are more likely to suffer especially during the current circumstances of COVID-19
Demand change not just now when protests are happening across the world but continually until there is equality
Protests are great but make sure it is not performative, make sure you make an active choice to do more and demand better. If you are going to protest, make sure you are safe and maintain social distancing.
This is not just a trend, do not just speak up now because it is popular and not continue to speak on these issues when it is no longer trending. This is a continuous fight that we all need to be a part of.
Demand change so we don’t have to hear the N-word played with people singing along to it and think it’s okay. Demand change so there will be no more racist graffiti writing on buildings across the campus.
If you wish to gain more understanding please follow this link as a starting point: Black Lives Matter
Black Lives Matter