This weekend, vegan activist and actress Evanna Lynch—known for her role as Luna Lovegood in the Harry Potter series—took to Instagram to share a timely message about confronting white privilege. The actress explained that over the weekend, she posted an animal-rights victory to social media and was called out for remaining silent about the ongoing nationwide protests calling for racial justice, which she said made her feel accused of being “on the side of racists.”
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These are the sources I’m starting with to learn how to be an ally for my Black, Indigenous and People of Colour friends: 1️⃣ Reading ‘Me and White Supremacy’ by @laylafsaad . If you’re a white person who is uncomfortable talking about racism and white supremacy, buy the book rn and START THERE. I just started this morning. It’s a practical work book with prompts to confront your own white privilege. It’s very challenging because she talks about ‘your racism’ and ‘your white privilege’ and I keep bristling and going ‘I’m not going to take ownership of those horrible terms!’ which is of course my egoic belief of ‘I’m a good person’, blocking me from doing the actual work that I so need to do. She also introduced me to ‘white fragility’ (aka. running away and crying when someone calls out your inaction) which I absolutely use to avoid dealing with situations and which isn’t useful, and ‘tone policing’ which I realised I do with vegan activists all the time and I need to rethink that. 2️⃣ Watching @NovaReidofficial’s TedTalk and take one of her anti-racism online courses that teach us how to unlearn white supremacist conditioning and be better allies to BIPOC. I just discovered her work today and am going to take a course. 3️⃣ Reading @glennondoyle’s chapter on Racists in her memoir, Untamed. I remember reading this a couple months ago and going ‘wow America be crazy with their blatant, unchecked racism’ completely missing the point of the chapter that ALL white people have work to do because white supremacy is in the air we breathe. This chapter so brilliantly discusses the uncomfortableness white people meet when trying to show up and how we have to sit with that and push through. She also introduced me to the idea of performative vs transformational activism. I’m sorry for not acknowledging that I’m part of the problem until now. I’m going to correct that. Here to listen to BIPOC voices. #BlackLivesMatter.
“I had a series of reactions: I cried and called friends who would tell me that I am a good person,” Lynch said. “I deleted my social media apps saying this energy is not good for my mental health. I ranted at a friend about how it’s impossible to be educated on every social justice issue. And I spent several hours writing long, detailed explanations of why and how working towards animal rights benefits marginalized people as much as the animals.”
As an escape, Lynch went to read a fantasy book in the park, which led to the moment when she confronted her white privilege. “I had the privilege of turning away from that ugliness if I felt like it,” Lynch said. “I could turn off the racism in a way that Black, Indigenous, and People of Color never fully can. I was avoiding confronting the actual issues being discussed and highlighted because I didn’t want to confront my own complicity in white supremacy and racism.”
Lynch explained that while she previously did not post about these topics, she is now actively learning to tackle race issues, stating, “We can’t let that discomfort dissuade us from showing up.”
In conjunction with the post, Lynch shared the steps she is taking to confront her white privilege as a vegan activist, and urged her 2.5 million Instagram followers to do the same. She is currently reading Me and White Supremacy by thought leader, speaker, and author Layla F. Saad which is written in the form of a workbook that prompts readers to work through concepts such as “white fragility” and “tone-policing.” Lynch recommends watching activist Nova Reid’s TedTalk and taking one of her anti-racist courses—which the actress is planning to do, as well. Lynch is also reading—and re-reading—a chapter of author Glennon Doyle’s memoir Untamed that focuses on racism, which introduced Lynch to the concept of “performative” versus “transformative” activism.
“I’m sorry for not acknowledging that I’m part of the problem until now,” Lynch said. “I’m going to correct that. Here to listen to BIPOC voices.”