Week 21: Distraction
This week had quite a few good things:
- Went on a lovely long bike ride and did some good social distance with a friend. The weather was amazing, the wind keeping it feeling not to hot while the sun was being very hot. It was also really nice to see so many people enjoying outdoor spaces. Spaces I’ve never seen be busy were covered in mostly appropriately spaced bodies. I’d love for a legacy of this to be people remembering that outdoor spaces exist.
- The blog post Alice, Keran and I wrote about our radio show got published. We drafted it while I was still working at the FT. It was a lot of fun to produce, and I’ve been contemplating bunking off work for an afternoon to go back and help them do it again (you didn’t see this Tom ;).
- I built a new garden planter out of an old pallet I found abandoned at the side of the road. The challenge was to try and built it without having to go to the shops to buy any new bits, which I managed to achieve. It means that some of the screws weren’t quite the right length, and some bit’s don’t have as much structural integrity as I would have liked. But in some ways that just adds to its reclaimed rustic charm. The next job is to get some compost to fill it.
Two of those good things also helped me avoid the internet for most of the weekend. Which is good because the current state of the world, and in particular the state of racism both in America and locally is getting me seriously down.
Someone left this quote on a comment on an FT article really stuck with me:
…I think America must see that riots do not develop out of thin air. Certain conditions continue to exist in our society which must be condemned as vigorously as we condemn riots. But in the final analysis, a riot is the language of the unheard. And what is it that America has failed to hear? It has failed to hear that the plight of the Negro poor has worsened over the last few years. It has failed to hear that the promises of freedom and justice have not been met. And it has failed to hear that large segments of white society are more concerned about tranquility and the status quo than about justice, equality, and humanity. And so in a real sense our nation’s summers of riots are caused by our nation’s winters of delay. And as long as America postpones justice, we stand in the position of having these recurrences of violence and riots over and over again. Social justice and progress are the absolute guarantors of riot prevention. Martin Luther King, 1967
That was from 1967, has nothing changed.
I’ve spent a lot of time reading (well, mostly listening to audio books) around racism over the past couple of years. If anyone’s looking to help understand modern racism more I’d recommend any of these books:
- Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race - Reni Eddo-Lodge
- Natives: Race and Class in the Ruins of Empire - Akala
- The Good Immigrant - Nikesh Shukla
- Brit(ish): On Race, Identity and Belonging - Afua Hirsch
- Prisoner to the Streets - Robyn Travis
- Safe: On Black British Men Reclaiming Space - Derek Owusu
- Black, Listed: Black British Culture Explored - Jeffrey Boakye
- Slay In Your Lane: The Black Girl Bible - Yomi Adegoke & Elizabeth Uviebinené
- White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism
I’ve put White Fragility last, because it’s the only one written by a white person. It’s a great book, and covers an area none of the others touch, but does mean id recommend supporting any of the other authors before reading it.
Black lives matter.