Here is my piece of being a British born Black man, as discrimination still blights our lives despite the rise in a society of Black Britons through sport, music, fashion, and culture.
There was a place in which black was the opposite of ‘British’ and ‘black’ meant “other”. The phase Black British is very familiar nowadays but what does it really mean?
Black people were brought to the UK over a century ago, despite the very small numbers we had. The odds of meeting a Black Brit who will tell you their great, great, great, grandparent lived in the UK is pretty much unheard of. I’ve not met a black person yet with that background. Most Caribbean’s will have their grandparents here but Africans will have only their parents.
I didn’t grow up in Britain in which pictures of racist golliwog dolls were in toy shops but I am living in an era, where ‘indirect’ racism is very much alive and clear to see in 2018. Politicians in the House of Commons will always talk about the failures of the ethnic minority communities to integrate into British society. So of course, we will feel unwanted especially when our other age-mates will get the top jobs due to our names being marked as ‘Black’.
Senior management doesn’t like to get into hot water over race though (if you’re lucky to work in such places). If you’re in a racist environment they will subtly bully you out. I’ve been at a work conference where I was only 1 of 3 Black managers, would it surprise you that there were 100+ of us there? I didn’t think so. (The other 2 were based in South Africa). Having to work as a ‘slave’ to get a good position and respected when working hard should be the only option.
It was in the 1980s when the concept of BHM was brought to Britain, an idea that was launched in the US when it was shamelessly called ‘Negro History Week’. Unless you do some serious research, the past has been buried so BHM is needed in Britain. (I wonder, why) Hey, we’re creating history now, with our culture, sport, and music, so hopefully, we can look back in 50 years and think, “Wow, those were the great days” and more of these days will come! The 2000s were ‘better days’, despite the supposed decline of racism especially with the hate murder of Stephen Lawrence in the early 90s. Yet we had the awful drama very recently at Nottingham Trent University in March 2018.
When will it end? When I can book a flight or even catch a train to a city in Britain somewhere and not think “Will I be safe there with my Black skin?” Can I even walk East London with my hoodie without being labelled a ‘roadman’?
I honestly don’t think I will not experience racism, which is ridiculous. But it’s something we will have to deal with until the day I die.
Nevertheless, until then, let’s create history, let’s make it as Black as possible, let’s make not only celebrate in October!