As I wrote in today’s open, in order to end racism and push for a more just and equal society, white people and non-black people of colour have to pull up. We can begin by acknowledging our mistakes and understanding that we’ve been shaped by institutionalised and systemic racism. And that while it’s certainly humiliating to admit that we can and most definitely have been racist in the past, and complacent about addressing it, that is nothing compared to what the consequences of our complacency which is that Black and Indigenous people’s lives have been lost and their opportunities taken away – for GENERATIONS, literally. 

 

Blake Lively has acknowledged this on her most recent Instagram post. There are five slides:

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“We’re ashamed that in the past we’ve allowed ourselves to be uninformed by how deeply rooted systemic racism is.”

“We talk about our bias and our own mistakes. We look back and see so many mistakes which has led us to deeply examine who we are and what we want to become.”

 

You’ll recall, back when Blake was still running her Preserve lifestyle website, she once published a piece about the “Allure of Antebellum”. That was 2014. Critics of the piece (myself included) called it out for romanticising slavery. When you combine the word “preserve” and then “allure of antebellum”, it’s not a stretch to connect preservation of the status quo with a time before abolition. Also, she and Ryan Reynolds were married on a plantation. My read of Blake’s post is that she is reflecting back on that essay and telling us that she has had to confront the grossness of all of that and learned that she had to do better, be better. 

Blake, as you can imagine, presents a certain image and allure of her own, especially to white people, white women. And she is modelling for them that she has had to evolve, using her platform and taking this message right to the Amy Coopers of the world. She’s also made a donation of $200K to the NAACP. And while some may not be inclined to be generous about her generosity and self-examination (one way to improve her post would have been to straight up name her shame), it’s still better than silence. The fact that she says she’s willing to have these conversations is only going to help.