I will never stop talking about race as long as it is still an issue. Too long I have been quite about these things, excepting the racist things that have happened to me as normal and that I just need to keep pushing forward. Eventually I will be seen for the person who I am and not the colour of my skin. I never should have excepted these things. It is not acceptable behaviour! They should not be seen as normal. Don’t get me wrong I have found people like this. good decent people who see that I am mixed race but don’t judge me on it but on my character as a person. This is the way things should always be but sadly they are not. The black lives matter movement has become big in the media recently and a lot of closest raciest have been making their way out of the woodwork. I do not condone any of the violence happening at the time. I get how frustrating it is when nobody listens to you but all the violence does is get peoples backs up and hurts the cause you are fighting for. However the amount of ignorant comments I have seen across social media and heard from people I know has made me want to scream.
I have seen people dismissing the existence of racism in the UK, stating its only in America. While the UK’s is not the same as America it is definitely not innocent of racism. People have said stop talking about race as talking about it is what makes it an issue. This point is then followed by a sentence similar to this, A bad cop killed a man. So let’s take that statement without the mention of the two peoples race for a moment. Yes he was a bad cop and the person he killed a man. The bad cop was not arrested straight away even though there was video footage of what he did. Why was that? Investigators get called in to look into this crime and the bad cop. They find that part of his motive was due to the man being a different race to the cop. Are we still not meant to mention race? Even though the crime has found it to be a factor in the motive behind the murder? But this fight for equality is not just about this incident in America. It is just the final straw that has people shouting enough is enough.
Growing up I was naive. I thought racism was a thing of the past that as a society we had moved on from this time. Then I experienced the first act of discrimination against me due to my race and my bubble was shattered. People always seemed surprised that my father was present in my life and I didn’t come from a broken home. I didn’t understand this. It took another mixed race child in my school to tell me why. Apparently black men are notorious for leaving their kids, especially if they are mixed. So as a child people were already making assumptions about my family life based on my ethnicity. This is something I have heard reiterated a lot recently, by the media and people who want to justify why black children are worse off by white. It isn’t due to their race but lack of a dad. Yet as stated above people have been advocating taking race out of things. So why is it black man are notorious for leaving their kids and not simply bad men are notorious for leaving their kids?
I genuinely think most people on an individual level are not raciest. However systemic racism is an issue in this country, that some people don’t even realise they are benefiting from. It is so ingrained into society that it is hard to see. That when it is brought to light it make people uncomfortable that they benefitted from it so they try to brush it aside or hide from it. This attitude won’t help make our society any better. Not talking about the issue won’t make it go away. It will just keep happening right under our noses. Then there are the people that will argue how they have struggled in life as a white person, so it isn’t about race. No one is saying you haven’t struggled but has your struggle ever been due to the colour of your skin? This country also has a class issue. Another issue I am happy to get behind and fight to make better. As a human I can care for more than one issue at once. Wanting equality for BAME people does not mean I will not stand and fight for other forms of discrimination in this country.
Then of course theory are the people who scream All Lives Matter! at the mention of black lives matter. These are the people that really need to look in the mirror and ask themselves why they feel so offended by the statement black lives matter. No one said other lives didn’t matter. At no point did we say black lives are more important than anyone else’s. The statement black lives matter is meant as a remained than black people are important too. Not more important but just as important. If you truly believe that all lives matter, than you would support black lives matter, and all other forms of inequality on our society. There is also this habit of bringing up other crimes to distract from the issue of crimes based on race. I have seen a lot of well blacks are killing blacks or what about this person that died (usually a white person) where was their protest? All crime is wrong but in all these cases people try to distract and divert with, the person responsible was very quickly arrested. There was no delay in the investigation. Race wasn’t factor in the crime. Also I find it disgusting that people can share round a dead person picture trying to use them as a reason to justify racism. How do you think these people family feel having their child, brother or sisters face circulating social media just so you can undermine a movement asking for equality? Leave these poor people alone. They have suffered enough without racists dragging up old wounds.
I have had many brushes with subtle racism and some more blatant racial abuse. I am constantly asked where I’m from (I’m English, as it’s where I was born.) People have been shocked on multiple occasions how good my English is (again born in this country). I have been followed round shops when simply trying to figure out which face scrub would suit my skin best. I have gone to collect an order from a shop and been asked for my forms of idea than my husband was who collected an order from them two days earlier (he is white). I have been racial abused outside my own house just because I didn’t share this woman’s sense of humour. The colour of my skin has nothing to do with me being a stick in the mud and a bitch. I just am a bitch. My husband has also been told how hard it must be for having to put up with someone like me, while using all sorts of offensive slurs for black people (that was his wake up call to racism). Even with these things that have happened to me I never said anything. It was my mum who called the police on the woman who abused me outside my house. I never would have done it as I have a very low opinion of myself. The officer that came out was really nice to me but nothing ever came of it.
However when I think about all the incidents I have had that involved my race the one that upset me the most are those involving my children. My oldest is only eight, yet already grown people have made judgements based on the colour of her skin. I am mixed race. My husband is white. Our children are then also mixed, however my eldest is darker then her younger sister. Some woman thought it was just casual conversation to ask if my husband was really bother of their dad. Of course he is but even after I told her this she still insisted that couldn’t be right. My eldest’s real dad had to be someone of colour. This woman didn’t see anything wrong with saying this. My husband is her real dad. Her colour comes from me! She looks mostly like me but if you were to shave both my eldest daughters and husbands hair off you would see they share the same weird hairline. However I shouldn’t have to justify this to people. This particular incident makes me sad as it’s what made me realise our society still hasn’t improved from when I was a child and I do not want my children going through the same things I have. I am lucky that I have parents who have always tried to give me and my siblings the best opportunities in life but they couldn’t shelter us from racism. I know I will have the same issue with my kids.
If you have gotten this far, I thank you for sticking with me. I could go on but I will wrap things up for now. No one can tell me racism doesn’t exist, whether it be on an individual level or systemic level. It is in grained in our society but together we can change this. We need to stop being uncomfortable talking about the hard things in life and stop pretending we are perfect. We need to get to the root of the problem not just try to patch it up when it rears its head high up in the system. I believe the solution to this problem starts with education. Equal access to education across the board. Teaching our kids everything, along with the UKs ugly past but most importantly funding all schools equally and getting rid of this post code lottery we seem to have. By confronting the problem now, then hopefully our children will not have to continue to fight this fight.
I love this and thank you for writing it.
Particularly the bit you say about where are you from hits home with me, I’ve had this all of my life.
Hoping you are all well and missing you loads.
Stay safe lovely lady xx
Thanks for reading and we miss you to x
I’m in the U.S. and was naive enough to think that electing a black man (a very good looking, articulate, polite one–damn, I miss him in office) for the presidency meant that racism had gone away. I swallowed that, and found out it was the calm before the storm. All of a sudden, whites I’d known my whole life who might’ve chuckled at a racist/stereotype joke suddenly were venting, the jokes became more uncomfortable but got bigger laughs from certain folks. I didn’t get it, and still don’t.
I think I got my major shock at work about three years ago. I help out with tutoring at a learning location while doing TA work most of the time up front. We have a diverse group of teachers: men, women, black, white, asian, hispanic, and they’re all awesome people. My old boss had to deal with some kids’ parents in ways that would shock me. One day she looked more rattled than normal and I hoped it wasn’t her blood sugar acting up. She needed to get something off her chest. A new client had come in to discuss tutoring options and payment plans. She was white and I can’t remember if her kid was in a private school and homeschooled occasionally or maybe they lived in a more affluent part of the area. She saw some of our teachers with the kids and said “My kid’s never had a colored teacher before, so I’m not sure how she’ll do with one.”
I was super shocked. I knew some kids were in church-school-neighborhood bubbles, but damn! I’m just glad none of the teachers could hear her say that through the office door, because it would’ve seriously hurt their feelings. My boss told me when she saw the look on my face that it happened every few months. It shocked me how narrow-minded and stupid, and yet at the same time I knew these teachers–the ones that mom was so concerned about when she saw them were the ones requested the most by the students. They get the kids working and make it fun for them.
That really made me keep my eyes open, and my social circle has dwindled down to almost nothing except the folks I find online because I started to see the ugliness and refuse to be a part of it. It’s frustrating when you don’t know what you can do as a white person, but I’ve also learned that right now, it’s not my voice that needs to try to lead anyway. I need to be supportive as best I can, supporting those who know and live with it. That’s physically tough because I live way far from everything, otherwise I’d love to join in a protest if I could find one. It’s the 21st century and racism needs to die. Education needs to make a comeback, because I find this “education is elitist” crap just as infuriating. If people would take time to learn about other people and educate themselves on history and social issues, then maybe we could make narrow-minded folks think a bit.
Hugs to you and yours. All the best and hope that we all get through this more caring and helpful than ever before.
Thank you for hearing me and for sharing your experience. I keep hoping one day we will come out of this on the other side more caring and understanding of one another.
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