The state of the world 

I guess it is unfair that you need to work ten times as hard to get the same recognition but that is the state of the world

This state of the world has only been the status quo for less than 400 years. There are 4.5 billion years before that. And likely 4.5 billion more after. 

It is not enough to work ten times as hard for a seat at their table. For every one of us that makes it, there are ten that are left behind. Perhaps they only worked nine times as hard. 

And for what? For the table to be shifted a little more, your chair still bolted to the ground. 

No. We deserve more. We need to demand more. 

Just 50 years ago, racism was legal. You were denied work, homes and food and could do nothing about it. Just 50 years ago. That was the state of the world. 

Just 30 years ago, our child were assumed “educationally subnormal”. Sent to separate classes to paint whilst their counterparts did maths. Told they should work as sweepers. Just 30 years ago. That was the state of the world. 

Today, people of colour are still denied work, homes and food. Children are still undermarked and undervalued. Racism has not disappeared. But it has undeniably progressed. That is the state of the world.

Things did not magically change. The state likes the status quo. Our elders boycotted, they rioted, they lobbied. They educated, they agitated, they organised. 

And we owe it to our elders that fought for this progression. We owe it to ourselves who worked too damn hard to be where we are. And we owe it to our children who deserve to be recognised for their brilliance.  We owe it to our world for it to be in a better state. 

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Seeing yourself: Mr Robot

There is overwhelming evidence that people are ready to believe that not only white people have stories to share and problems to solve. And the majority of the globe – who are not in fact mostly non-white (unlike what you would think if you turned to mainstream media) – would actually like to see people and stories that remind them of themselves.

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So you can imagine how excited I was to see Mr Robot. A visibly Muslim women in a very diverse team – and they show her praying too. Ok so she is very quite (nothing wrong with that as such – some people are quite, but this annoyingly plays into the quite and submissive rhetoric around Muslim women) and the white man says “she’s got some ‘Allah akhbar’ in her” *side eye*. But on screen she is, and for that I am grateful.

I am grateful because seeing oneself on popular and mainstream shows reinforces the idea that you exist. People like us are normal. People like us deserve to take up space. People like us are just as capable as the white man. And hell, if we have to pay the same amount in subscriptions and licenses – we deserve to feel that way.

I loved Mr Robot so much I managed to finish the whole season in one sitting. I had a headache in the end because I had watched 10 hours of TV. But it was worth it.

Being ready

She wakes up ready.
Ready to take on everything she is not ready for.

As her kettle brews she brushes her hair. She irons the clothes that fit too tight and don’t fall right. She lines her eyes, applies mascara and taints her lips. She wraps her scarf around her head and pins it into place. She drinks her tea. And puts on plasters before wearing her heels. She is ready.

Ready to pretend she understands the capitalistic world she’s thrown herself in where the corporate call themselves the alternative. They pride themselves as diverse and inclusive yet she sees no one like herself and does not fit in. She pretends she does not mind that they get drunk and speak too close, spewing horrible fumes and dropping alcohol onto her beautiful gown. She pretends she does not feel offended when they assume she is against LGBT rights. She tries to laugh as the scoff at “chavs only buying clothes from Primark” whilst she is dressed in mostly Primark clothes and lives with her mum in a council house. She is patient when they ask “are you Islam?” and “so what are you doing about ISIS?”. She hides her offence at the “I volunteered in Africa (because obviously Africa is a country to them). It was weird because I was the only white person in the village”. She goes along to yet another evening of networking with the same clones and the same stench of wine.

And when all is done, she can come back home. She takes off the heels at the door, unwraps her scarf, wipes off the black around her eyes and changes into her mexi. She does not have to be ready anymore. She sighs with relief and gets ready for bed, dreading the morning ahead.

Stepping onto a brand-new path is difficult, but not more difficult than remaining in a situation, which is not nurturing to the whole woman. – Maya Angelou