Written by: 
Jessica Alves Tuesday, 14 July, 2020 - 19:46

The Perfect Time to Step Up – The Black Lives Matter Movement and Why it Matters to Europeans

Why the Black Lives Matter Movement is relevant and important for everyone.

I am white. Technically speaking, I’m Caucasian-Hispanic. But I’m white. My skin colour has never been a problem in my life and it never will be. 

I will never suffer from discrimination because of the colour of my skin.

I will never be afraid to walk in the street because of the colour of my skin.

I will never be afraid to be murdered because of the colour of my skin .

I will never be afraid of the justice system because of the colour of my skin.

I am privileged to have been born white. But the amount of melanin that your skin produces shouldn’t be a problem. It shouldn’t be something that differentiates us. We are all human after all, right? Well, wrong. 

Historically, black people have been the underdogs. From slavery to whatever dystopian novel we are in now, black people are at a disadvantage. A black person can’t go on a run without looking suspicious. A black person can’t protest without risk. That is why the Black Lives Matter movement exists – not because not “All Lives Matter”, but because black people need more help to achieve basic human rights than, let’s say, me, a white person. 

You already know why the BLM movement is in the spotlight now. I don’t need to further explain it to you. We all saw that video. Or videos. The multiple news stories. George Floyd. Auhmaud Arbery. Breonna Taylor. All the others that didn’t reach the other side of the pond. Talking about racism is uncomfortable. It’s supposed to be uncomfortable. You’re not comfortable taking a stand on racism because you don’t know what the “right opinion” is – even though you know what it is. It’s not being racist. But what is “not being racist” anyway? Is it not calling others the N-word? Is it ignoring black culture and success most of your life because you’re so Euro-centric that you don’t even remember? Is it saying “I don’t see colour” when you shouldn’t erase someone’s colour, just like you don’t erase the fact that a German is German just because Hitler existed? Or is it fighting for black people’s rights just like you fight for climate change or same-sex marriage or the rights for abortion or euthanasia or whatever hot topic floats your boat? You, the privileged person reading this, you have the power to:  1- learn about Black Lives Matter if you don’t feel comfortable with it, and 2- take a stand. We are talking about human beings, not aliens.

This is the time to fight. Use your privilege for good. Black Lives Matter because, according to society, they didn’t before. Fight against racism, even if you’re a white European – especially if you’re a white European. Racism isn’t exclusive to the US, it affects all non-white communities in the world. 

You might be wondering: “What can I do as a European?”

Do your research. Get educated. Sign petitions. Donate if you can. Don’t stay ignorant, be active. You can do things, you can make an impact on your community. Let’s not be quiet about racism, let’s keep talking about it. That’s the key.

Here’s a link to resources, petitions, and places to donate: blacklivesmatter.carrd.co

Categories: 
Social Inclusion, Education
Categories: 
Several obstacles nearly destroyed my chance to go on an Erasmus. When I finally arrived at my destination, I discovered that I still had a lot to learn.
Categories: 
The previous months have been tough for everyone. But there were some people who, despite the fears, worked on ameliorating the lives of others. The ESN volunteers were some of those people. We should celebrate that when the world needed us, we delivered.
Categories: 
My Erasmus exchange in the Netherlands was the happiest six months of my life. This posed an issue when it came to returning to my normal life. What do you do when your new-found life and the joyful emotions that come with it come to an end?
Categories: 
We’re always talking about getting on with our lives. Well, we are. We get on with our lives. This is it. Maybe the problem is that I’ve always been driven by my wants. My life’s always been about tomorrow. And the idea that life is now… it’s horrible.
This month's stage lights are shining bright on ESN UNWE, a sunlit section from Bulgaria. While 2020 seems disastrous to everyone else, it turns out that ESN UNWE have managed to make it their year. Keep reading to find out what kind of magic they used.

Pages