I’m thinking about what we’ve learnt over the past year since protests erupted in cities all across the West in the name of #blacklivesmatter. Black Lives Matter (BLM) is an organisation that emerged on the internet after the death of Trayvon Martin in 2013, according to Black Lives Matter, “the movement is an ideological and political intervention into a world where black lives are deliberately targeted for demise. It’s an affirmation of Black people’s humanity, our efforts to this society, and our resilience in the face of deadly oppression… But do Black Lives Really Matter or is it popular right now to suggest they do? I genuinely believe that most people in this society (The UK) are good people, in fact it’s often said about the UK that “we are the most open and tolerable society in the world” While I feel that on the whole, it is true, does this imply that the UK is not racist? To me, it feels like receiving a diploma for showing up to class.
Around the time of the riots and protests, I referred to certain of them as riots because that’s what they were, I recall hearing a group of women ask the question “Is it right that these individuals should be demonstrating and not maintaining social distance because I haven’t seen my parents in a few months.” I didn’t use the phrase white women because I find it unpleasant to categorise people as black or white, but to me, that is the very definition of white privilege. My wife doesn’t understand what white privileged is because she isn’t familiar with the concept. I direct her to a video on YouTube entitled “life of privilege explained in a $100 race” (I’d advise everyone to watch it on YouTube; it’s fascinating). I tell her that the reason she can’t comprehend what white privilege is because in life, in our race she would have been starting at the front and me at the rear, and while you’re at the front you only look forward.
This should be a frightening notion for black families, having children who only want what’s best for them. Consider if you will living with the knowledge of putting your kids into a race in which they have no chance of winning; what must that do to your mentality? as yourself the question.
I believe that my wife is not racist, but she is unquestionably ignorant of the challenges faced by black people. She’s ignorant because she has never been taught about it, growing up in a mostly white neighbourhood in Cheshire to a wealthy white family. My background is opposite to hers; I grew up in a one-parent family in the UK. We weren’t but it defiantly at times felt we were the only black family in the town,
Here’s a quick sample of some of the things I encountered as a “little black boy” in white Britain:
- As a youngster, I could never be Lineker or Maradona despite playing like them [coughs], I would have to be Parker or Ince instead or you play football on the playground in school, some of your peers refer to you as banana boy.
- When you’re younger, you’re friends’ parents may describe you as the little black boy.
- When you get stopped and searched in the street while walking home from the shop because you “fit the profile”
- When your first proper girlfriend tells you “you can come round but just ignore what my dad says because he doesn’t like black people” or the next one puts a shotgun to your head and says “this is what we do with your kind”
- Or when your walking down the street and a random man who you have never met or seen before in a white van shouts as he is whizzing past you “you black cunt”
That’s my lived experience… that’s just a snapshot of some of the examples I had to put up with before the age of 18. So am I surprised that my white wife doesn’t understand? Of course not.
The reality is society likes to teach us that we are all equal, I hear the argument that it’s not #blacklivesmatter it’s #alllivesmatter, and whilst of course that’s true! until we start the race from an equal standing then I’m afraid all lives don’t matter. a quick look at real history will teach you that for 400 years the black man has been oppressed by the white man, black people have been systematically killed and held back in the advancement of the white race, and until we truly teach and understand that message and that history how can we moved forward? thinking back to my school days that history was conveniently left out of the history books I was reading, yet they were full of the accomplishments of white folk, the genocide of the native Americans diluted to “the expansion of Europe into the Americas”. BUT should I be surprised? after all history is written by the victors.
Whether you know it or not you are a most probably racist, that meme you shared in your WhatsApp group, that comment you liked on Facebook, that joke you laughed at, your racist because society teaches us it’s ok. Racism exists, it hasn’t gone away it hasn’t got worse it’s the same as its always been.
Complicit! Most people are complicit in racism for not shouting it down when it happens, rather we laugh or we do the British thing of “someone else will say something” I stopped going to Old Trafford because I was sick of hearing it from our own fans on the stands! How is it, then, when one of my fellow Manchester United supporters racially insults a black player, surrounded by hundreds of other fans in a stand with 10,000 people yet I’m left alone to deal with it? That is the life that persons of colour have to live.
I’m not telling you this to make you feel guilty, but rather to inform you of the world’s deliberate plan to keep us apart, unless we are willing to accept a global perspective. Racism is real! We may all be complicit every time we fail to challenge racism. I’m not looking for pity; I’m simply requesting that individuals be informed of how society has divided us into distinct categories and the consequences it will have on our lives as a result of having knowledge may help to change things.
That is reality.
A year or so on from Black Lives Matter what have we learnt?
It shouldn’t take murder before people become outraged or acknowledge that there might, just might be a problem in their own community.
Stay blessed everybody and have a fantastic day.