I’M STILL HERE BLACK DIGNITY IN A WORLD MADE FOR WHITENESS BY: AUSTIN CHANNING BROWN

Another book down! And now I am starting to get the books that everyone was reading when the Black Lives Matter movement was at its peak (btws there are still things going on and there is still the fight against racism check out my blog post about it)

On my list of many books by black author I am glad I got to read this one first. It was a short book, but was so concise.

So a little bit about Austin Channing Brown, She is a writer, media producer, and speaker. Her career is amazing and really just leaves me inspired. If you have the time look her up, I think she is an amazing person and I am so glad that she does the work that she does.

OK so onto the book. This book is Austin’s encounters with racism at different stages of her life. You start out in her childhood and how she grapples with living in a predominantly white neighborhood. Eventually you make it up to adulthood and how Austin embraces her blackness and is out in the world fighting racism.

Even though this book was short, it was good. Austin brought many things that I did not consider to light. One of the things I just need to quote.

I am not impressed that slavery was abolished or that Jim Crow ended. I feel no need to pat America on the back for these “achievements”. This is how it always should have been. Many call it progress, but I do not think it is praiseworthy that only within the last generation did America reach the baseline for human decency.

I can’t tell you what page that was on because it was not on the screen capture, but really that quote just really drove home this issue. Racism should not even be a thing, but it is and we should not be congratulating people on treating others with kindness. That should be the standard.

Another thing that I never really thought of was basically airing your past racist tendencies to Black people. Basically looking for forgiveness or that it is “ok”. They don’t want to hear you confessions, show them you are better by doing better now. What is in the past is in the past.

Overall this was a great book. It is short and shows a whole lifetime of dealing with racism. Austin brough many great points and I think this would be a great book to read for anyone. Definitely a 5 star book.

So yea def a good read and cannot wait to read more and learn more! Let me know in the comments what books you have been reading and what you have learnt from them!

Next week I will be writing about my closet and how it has changed so keep your eyes peeled for that!

until next time!

WHY BLACK LIVES STILL MATTER

It has been a few weeks since the world found out about the tragic murder of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor (and others) at the hands of the police. This erupted the world in protests and a call to make a change is so many ways.

Over the past weeks I have really been diving into listening to black voices and really listening to their experiences ( I feel like a lot of people have been doing this). I have always tried to be anti-racist but at the same time I was part of a system that upheld many societal norms and said nothing. These past few weeks have been very eye opening.

Now that things have died down and I have seen many of the people that I follow just go back to normal life while there are still horrific acts of racism happening.

The movement Black Lives Matter has be around for a while and was started by 3 amazing Black Womxn. Their names are Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors, and Opal Tometi. They started this movement in 2013. I implore you to read into the movement and what it stands for because it is very important.

What really got me was I saw someone post something along the lines of “if you are silent you are complicit.” When I saw that I was like OMG I have been complicit my entire fucking life! I have never used my voice to make moves. There is a certain power I have as a white woman (ahem white privilege) that I need to be using to help others.

So I have been learning, following, and believing all of these black people. I have been working on correcting things that can be harmful to others.

I have learnt a lot just from changing who I follow on Instagram (my main social media place). My feed was filled with 90% white people. The other 10% was black people and a few other people of colour. I figured I need to diversify my feed. I need to follow more black people, more disabled people, more indigenous people, more of people who don’t look like me.

I believe that we all need to create the change that we want to see in the world. For me that change is starting to change me. I need to actively be doing work to make changes. This includes having discussions that will be uncomfortable.

Somethings that you can do to make changes are:

  • donate to causes that you feel need help (if you can)
  • read books by authors that are not like you
  • speak with your money (if you can)
  • sign petitions
  • share information that you feel will be helpful
  • use your voice and speak to others about racist tendencies
  • change words that you use (There are a lot of words/wording that is harmful)
  • actually listen to people when they bring up things that you may have done that can be harmful.

I would also like to put out there to NOT be messaging black people about a lot of things. With this movement, a lot of people have turned to the Black community and basically expected them to spoon feed us the information. There are many other resources out there for us to use from Black people who have been at for this for years. Literally google it, look at hashtags to try and get a better understanding, read a fucking book by a black person. There are black people out there who are racism educators and they might have links to things that are beneficial, but if they are offering a class or information, make sure to pay them! Black woman should not have to put in all this extra labour for free in a society that treats them like shit. This is a white person problem. We need to make the changes. They did not ask for this, but for some reason white people took it upon themselves to make white people “superior”.

The fight still continues for all minorities in this world. We need to change our ways and fix this fucked up system. I hope that you can take it upon you to make some changes. You won’t be perfect at first but it is a start.

WHAT STARTED DEVAN SMILES?

So it is that time for another blog post, and I think the hardest thing about writing blog posts is figuring out what to write. I decided today I would write about why I started devan.smiles.com.

I have been told throughout my life that I am a generally positive person. as I have grown older I would say I am less positive because you know the state of the world (climate change, patriarchy, you know shit that gets you angry.) I also live a very privileged life ( being white and being given opportunities that not everyone has.) I know that I should use my place of privilege to change what I can.

On the flip side, I don’t like controversy. I get really uncomfortable and I am not witty. I am unable to think on my toes and if I get upset I just start crying ( thanks mom for that awesome gene.) I know that even though it makes me uncomfortable, I still need to push back and stand up for the people who don’t necessarily have a voice or are marginalized.

I by no means am perfect at this, fuck it is a constant battle in my head and heart of why didn’t I say something.

But this is why I started Devan smiles. it gives me a space to start acting on that privilege (haven’t gotten too into it yet.) This space allows me to slowly ease into using my voice. I can write about it get, get my facts straight, and feel confident in the knowledge that I have. Then maybe I can take down some fucker that tries to come at me without just turning into a mess of tears and mumbles.

Will every post be about some controversial topic? hell No! it is exhausting taking on all the worlds problems. I can barley handle one at a time whiteout being like fuck it I’m just going to lay in bed till the end of time. SO there will be some when I can muster up the brain power for them. Will I get some facts wrong? YES, it is almost impossible for me to have them straight all the time. Like I said I come from a place of privilege and I can easily overlook something that others might not. So I want it to be know that I want feedback if I have something wrong. Start the conversation so I can learn, just don’t be an ass about it.

So that is why I started this blog. I haven’t really used it for what intended yet, but I will, I just have to build up that courage and write it out!