The deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and countless other unarmed black civilians in the US have sparked a rage that is contagious. Cities as far as London, Berlin, Melbourne, and Tokyo have seen huge demonstrations in solidarity with the growing Black Lives Matter uprising in the US. Meanwhile, in India we are still trying to work out how to respond.

One response circulating in elite circles is what journalist Rana Ayyub calls “weari[ing] the #BlackLivesMatter hashtag as a fashion accessory”: posting or tweeting about the movement in order to opportunistically cash in on its moral and cultural capital. Please don’t do this: better responses are possible. Ask yourself these five questions to figure out if you actually support the principles of the movement and learn to put your support, if any, to work.

1. Am I personally anti-black or racist?

This shouldn’t be an easy question. Personal racism does not just mean a straightforward revulsion towards black people or minorities (and yes, this includes religious and caste minorities too). It includes stereotyping, implicit bias, whitewashing, exoticising, purity politics, endogamy and much more that is deeply embedded into our socialisation.

This type of racism can’t just be tackled in one individual’s mind: reversing it requires anti-racist education to be institutionalised...

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