I have been thinking a lot about the Black Lives Matter protests over the last few days, as many of you have I’m sure.

This week I took some time to reflect on my thoughts and I wanted to share with you my personal perspective following the events of the weekend.

With kindest regards

Jenny

I am not the sort of person who would help to pull down a statue. 

I think these things should be done properly through democratic processes, not by the decisions of a few people.  I would also be worried about what other people would think and that I would get in trouble.

I am a white Bristolian.  Brought up in South Bristol, in Knowle.  I was loved and well cared for and I didn’t experience the kind of poverty and deprivation that affects many in that part of the city.

I also didn’t think about being white.  I never thought about it at school, I never thought about it with my friends, on nights out as a teenager, as a car driver, out shopping, at job interviews… I never thought about it. 

I didn’t feel privileged as such, I mean I knew I was lucky to have a loving family, food to eat, a roof over my head etc.… but not privileged.   We didn’t live in a big house of have fancy cars and that’s privilege right?  Having money?  Or is it having power?

I can see now how my whiteness was (and is) a privilege.  It gave and gives me power I didn’t even realise I had.  The power to live my life without looking over my shoulder, to simply assume that if anything bad happened I would be believed, supported and helped. 

Of course there are situations where I have been judged, we judge teenagers who look like they might be up to no good, we judge people on where they went to school or what they are wearing.

But I get that privilege and racism is not about individual situations, it’s about a way of life and an underlying perspective. 

I am not the sort of person who would help to pull down a statue. 

I have never had to resort to this kind of action, action that puts me at risk of judgement and prosecution.  Because I have always assumed I would be listened to, that my view would be considered valid.  That a democratic process would (mostly) make good and just decisions.

I don’t want to be the person who pulls down statues….. but could I be doing more to make sure no one needs to be that person?

So honestly I am sad the statue was pulled down but not because it no longer stands.  I think that as a city we should have recognised it as a monument to someone who caused immense death and suffering. We could have made space for it in a museum, where it could be seen in the context of the slave trade and its role in Bristol’s growth and prosperity.

I am sad because parts of our community felt so powerless to be heard and understood that this action was the only way to be seen.

So what I am going to do is work harder to recognise the privilege I have and the power it gives me. 

I am going to work harder at being actively anti-racist.  To look for opportunities to use my privilege, to give others an opportunity to be heard and seen. 

I don’t fully know what this looks like yet.  That’s something for me to work on. 

It’s an internal statue to topple.’