The week I muted myself

On May 25th, 2020, George Floyd, a black man living in Minneapolis, Minnesota was killed when a white police officer, Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds. He did not deserve to die. This was an act of racism.

Over the past week, I chose to mute myself on my social media account, a privilege within its self. I chose to reflect, listen to black voices, dig deep into some biases I am taking apart, follow black females on social media, listen to podcasts, watch netflix shows and more. I know that is not enough, but I am just starting here. I am going to be sharing some steps I have been taking on myself and what I am going to be doing moving forward. KEEP ME ACCOUNTABLE.

1. Notice my privilege

Just two weeks ago I bought a large tent at Target in the pick-up area, I wanted to walk around Target because, who doesn’t? So I walked around and decided the lines were too long so I walked towards the exit door with my tent. I asked the security guard if he wanted to see the receipt for the tent I just bought, he waved for me to just walk by. That is a privilege. That may not have happened if I was a black man or woman. To be honest, I have a feeling they would of had to show the receipt. It is important as a white person to acknowledge and be aware of your privilege. I have been pulled over and simply smiled at the cops, and I did not get a ticket. I can go to a store and touch every single item, and not have a store clerk wonder what I am doing. I can go on my long walks and not have a worry in the world. I have been asked by many brands to work with them, I have gotten almost every job I have interviewed for, and on and on and on. You do not need to be embarrassed of your privilege, but you do need to be aware of it.


2. Unpack my biases

This is a step that I have been really reflecting on this week. Change starts from within each person. It is up to us to beware of these biases that have us acting out in some certain way. I shared in my stories that there is a Dunkin Donuts about 5 minutes from our apartment. I drive by it every single day and go to a Dunkin out of my way in an affluent area. For the past year I have been doing this. To be honest, I realized this week why I passed it. There were homeless people outside, everyone was black when I passed by and no one looked like me. If I am really getting honest, I thought if I went there, something may happen to me. So, this week I went to that Dunkin. A homeless man smiled at me when I walked in, a black woman behind me in line shared a laugh with me about my blueberry iced coffee order, the black cashier told me to have a great day. I sat in my car after this. I took it apart. For all this time I avoided a place I love, because I did not see anyone who looked like me and in my head I told myself it was “unsafe”. This small example is much larger in my life and it is something I am actively working on. Have I locked the doors when I saw a black person crossing the street? Yes. Have I worried if I am on a walk and a black man is walking towards me? Yes.

Why? I grew up in a town with 77% white people and 1% black people. I was growing up in a bubble, in an environment with 0 diversity. I remember the first time Mark visited my hometown (Mark is Filipino), he told me he has never been anywhere like Bedminster. I replied and said, “oh yeah all the trees and nature, isn’t it so pretty?” He replied, “No I mean every single person here all day has been white, I have not seen anyone that looks like me.” Only until now do I understand why he felt so uncomfortable that first day he came to visit. I deemed Bedminster as this sacred, safe and beautiful place, but to others-it is a very scary place. Although I would not call my parents racist, I grew up developing untrue biases around people of color, because I have been ignorant and naive and so has my family. THIS is where my work is going to be. I am going to unlearn everything my bubble has taught me, pick it apart and change my ways. I am going to speak up to family members and open the conversation. We have been the problem, but not anymore.

3. Diversify my feed and circle

This week, I filled my feed with black females. I realized on that Tuesday when white people were doing #blackouttuesday, MY ENTIRE FEED WAS BLACKED OUT. My feed was not diverse, I was only looking at feeds of girls who look like me, much like how I grew up. Further, putting me into my bubble and only having my REAL LIFE & SOCIAL MEDIA life reflect one type of person in this world, white privileged women. This week I added many black women to my feed and will continue to. I want to make their recipes, tag them, support them, comment on their blogs, show my support and most importantly slide into their DM’s and get to know them. The above photo is Britney from @britneybreaksbread recipe for Honey Tahini Chocolate Chunk Cookies that I made this week. We have been chatting non-stop and when she visits NYC, I can’t wait to meet her. Here are a few other black foodie girls I have been loving on instagram. Follow them, engage with them, get to know them, try their recipes and learn from them.


4. Speak with brands

I promise to be more picky with the brands I work with. I will check out their feeds to ensure they are diversifying theirs. Are black women involved in campaigns? Did they post this week about what they are going to do? I made an email template to email back to brands, that will include the black women I mentioned above (and will keep adding to it). Black women deserve the same amount of brand partnerships as white women. Please use this template and adjust to your niche and brands. WE need to speak up and let brands know we care about this and want to see a change.


Hi_________,

Thank you so much for the interest in working with me! Your product sounds delicious and I would love to try it out! I also wanted to send you a few names of some foodie accounts I love of black women. I hope that you can also include them in your campaigns and partnerships, take a look at their accounts- you’ll be drooling. Let me know if you have any additional questions, looking forward to working with you.

@rosalynndaniels
@britneybreaksbread
@nkechiajaeroh
@thehealthtour
@foodheaven
@idilsworld
@ontysplate
@sweet_tea_thyme

Regards,

Jamie


5. Continue to educate myself

I will continue to educate myself on systemic racism, how to be anti-racist, be a true ally to black people, white privilege and more. I will continue to read, listen and keep an open mind and heart to any “mistakes” I may make during this time. This is my time to educate myself, I will make mistakes, I will not always say the right thing. If someone calls me out on it-great, I will use it for further education. I will not be defensive, angry or ignorant anymore. I will burst that bubble. It is not too late. Mark and I will be raising children soon and I WILL not tolerate raising them in the bubble that I grew up in. We will ensure diversity in their lives and raise anti-racist children.


I am open to any and all resources on these topics. I am open to conversations, I am open to learning more, I am open to getting uncomfortable. I am open to people holding my accountable. This week that I was muted was not to sit back and watch, it was to sit back and listen and learn. This is only the beginning. I am un-muted now and coming back stronger, willing to learn and stand up for my beliefs and incorporating what I am learning into my feed. Please join me on this journey, it’s time we REALLLLLLY pop those damn bubbles. Are you with me?

xo Jamie

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