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What Can I Do?

Updated: Aug 22, 2022

(Originally Published June 6th 2020) With everything going on in the world, I have been thinking, what can I, a white, somewhat middle-class man, do to help in this time? I have not felt that fear or discrimination that institutional push against me. I doubt I ever will. So how can I possibly help? How can I understand the oppression that people have felt for centuries? What can I do?

I have for so long; I have prided myself on being tolerant, on being 'above' racism and for being a person that is accepting of all creeds and opinions. I think they are admirable qualities, but the qualities I believe we need now is self-awareness, the strength to admit when you are wrong and to make a change where it's needed.

I cannot say enough now how my actions of tolerance and staying away from a 'race' conversation have helped contribute to the situation that my black friends, colleagues and countrymen face each day. For that, I'm sorry.

With that said, it's time for a change. That much is abundantly clear. I have to change and make sure we leave this planet a better place than what we have been handed.

So, I've been thinking about this question since George Floyd's death. What can I do? What can we all do? Honestly, and unsurprisingly, I'm not sure.

I do, though, have some ideas of what my first steps will be:

  • Can I go and protest? Yes.

  • Can I reflect on myself and my views? Yes.

  • Can I educate myself? Yes.

  • Can I face up to the hard truths head-on? yes

  • Can I call out my friends and family for what they say? Yes.

  • Can I help ensure my daughter knows what's happening in this world needs to change? Yes.

  • Can I make sure she grows up knowing that believing equality isn't enough? Yes.

  • Can I make sure that I live my life to the fullest and help those around me every day? Yes.

  • Will I talk about race? Yes

The real question beyond this is, is any of this enough? Simply it isn't.

I have been afraid in the past, and I'm so scared now to talk about these fundamental issues that people have faced for so long, too long.

I'm afraid to talk about them; then I think that people are genuinely fearful for their lives, family and friends, and what do I genuinely have to be afraid about? I fear offending people; I fear I will say the wrong thing on a subject I know nothing about. So I need to do all I can to educate myself and learn. I owe it to the Black & Asian people I know and those I don't to do all I can to help understand, even though I never truly understand and change.

I realise talk is commonplace; what will make the difference is consistent, relentless change and actions. I may not always be the most vocal with these things, but I will be sure to live by these changes each and every day. I hope these small actions will make a difference in the world. If everyone does their bit and we support each other, we will stop this. We will start slowly to break down these centuries-old barriers.

Now isn't the time for me to sit back and let the world pass by. I need to stand up and be counted. For someone constantly asking what I can do to make a difference, well, now's a chance to make just a little impact. And a million minor impacts are what bring down walls.

We can make a change, but only if we do it together.

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