Unlearning Normality

A hybrid personal documentation for understanding racism, seeing privilege and unlearning normality as whiteness.

Created as part of Visibility: Diversity and Design at the University of Applied Sciences Europe.
Unlearning Normality

A hybrid personal documentation of learnings through understanding racism, seeing privilege and unlearning normality for a white person.

But all lives matter!
Yes, only that is not what this conversation is about.

Black lives matter!
Sure. Actually, all lives matter!

That’s a conversation I’ve heard people have around me more than once, and it probably takes place every couple seconds on the internet. Specifically the comments section on Twitter or something.

I’ve even had that very thought myself:
“Why are we arguing over who matters? Isn’t it the whole point of equality for all lives to matter? All lives, regardless of skin-colour, gender, or whatever labeling system we’re going by today, matters”

Michael Che Matters
Michael Che
Netflix, 2016
We can't even agree on Black Lives Matter... Black lives Matter. Not matters more than you, just matters... We can't agree on that shit? What the fuck is less than matters? Black lives exist?

All lives matter. It sounds so justified, so impartial, so...right. What I didn’t realise at the time was how my thoughts weren’t as much a response to the problem as it is a deflection, a desire to not see inequality and injustice. We wave the flag of equality, turning a blind eye to the shit storm that’s been brewing for hundreds of years.

Of course all lives should matter, but at this time and place, under current circumstances (which is not so current in all honesty) the conversation is about black lives. Black people are being murdered for their skin colour, denied opportunities for their skin colour, being oppressed for their skin colour, insert horrible verb for their skin colour.

With the death of George Floyd and the latest wave of protests, I am unlearning the notion of ‘all lives matter’. I started to see it as what it really is: a distraction, a harmful diversion from what matters right here right now. As Michael Che puts it in his special, saying ‘All lives matter’ as if it’s some higher, more noble intrinsic truth is like when your wife asks you whether you love her, and you go ‘Baby, I love everybody! What are you talking about?’. 5

Perhaps when you try and deal with all problems, you end up failing to deal with any single problem. You just end up sweeping racism and racial injustice under the carpet of democracy and equality.
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