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. 

Advertisements

Bringing down the system 

I have been invited to work for “special teams”. And by that they mean the police, ministry of defence, home office and so on (and yes even the ones I can’t name).
My immediate reaction was hell no – they won’t let me in. Then I realised, well actually they will let me in.  I haven’t broken any laws and I am a British citizen. Maybe I can change the system from the inside? So I started the process to get security cleared.

But now I am not so sure. See, I will be doing project work – not starting a one person revolution. I will be not only upholding the structures that oppress me and my community but improving them. I may be told things that will haunt me and I will not be able to share them. And let’s be honest, they very well could kill me – that is how little trust I have in those teams.  

So now I’m in two minds about the whole thing. And the guy who invited me in the first place – a white, upper class, rugby-playing lad tried to persuade me to go for it. “What are you all ‘fuck the police’?” he asked. “Yes I am actually,” I replied.

And then I described my reality with the very people who I pay to protect me. I have seen them beating up a young boy in the street while the others stand in a circle, their backs to this incident. I see them dragging students by the hair during peaceful and legal protests. I see them stopping black people for no reason whatsoever. I see them snarling at me and my friends. I see them not believing me or even caring when I reported sexual abuse. I see them to be the oppressive force that protects the rich and keeps the poor, black and brown down. Over 1500 have been killed in police custody since 1900 and not one officer has been charged. That is my reality with the police.

He listened and nodded.

A system cannot fail those it was never meant to protect

I apologise for being lost over the last few weeks. Working all day and volunteering all evening has left me with so much to say but so little energy to say it with. 

Self-care: my weapon and shield 

Self-care is an act of political warfare. Learn to share only when you have the strength to do so. Say no when you do not. Say nothing when even this is not possible.
Our pain matters. Our words are worth something. Our experience is real. 

We are not exotic. We are not submissive or unduly angry. We are not different to the others.

There is a difference between offensive and oppressive. And we know when we are being oppressed. By their words, by their actions, by their systems. We can recognise the dull pain it causes deep in our stomach.

And so we do not have to explain it. Not why we do what we do. Not why we want what we want. And certainly not when we hurt the way we do.

Expecting marginalised peoples to disregard their own emotions to calmly educate you is the epitome of entitlement

Black History Month

Black History Month is here! As a non-black person of colour, BHM is not something I paid very much attention to ’till last year. Before then, my school didn’t focus on it at all, I was taught MLK was the good revolutionist and Malcolm X was the bad revolutionist, I thought BHM was a time to be sad about the trans Atlantic slave trade, and that was the only history black people had.

Last year I was introduced to a whole new world of activist, I was taught what euro-centrism is, what solidarity means, what liberation feels like, how political Blackness unites us. I went to a variety of events – from panels to performances. The veils around my eyes blew off and the glass of false pretence teaching us all that the world is fine and everything horrible happened many moons ago shattered. I was empowered.

And that is what BHM is to me. A time where we can focus our energies in teaching ourselves – about our heritages and strengths and struggles. And of the heritages and strengths and struggles of our brothers and sisters across the globe. And we can be empowered to not sit back and let the glass continue to encapsulate the many of our brothers and sisters who still sleep.

Yes our heroes should be remembered but our struggles are more than three (MLK, Rosa Parks and Ghandi) people – with even their struggles being summarised to being passive. Black History is so much richer than that – in all areas of the world, in all fields, in all cultures. Black history is world history, and until it is recognised as such – BHM is vital in empowering us to at least remember so.

BHM for me is a start, a reenergiser, a reminder. When we can come together and celebrate. We are here. And then we can plan and organise. We can organise against racist laws such as the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act. We can organise against Apartheid Israel. We can organise against the White curriculum. It is not just a month, but more like a start of the year.

Even if your experience of BHM has not been brilliant – even if you don’t see the point of it – do check out the events your local area are organising. Whether that be in your university or community. Don’t limit yourself.

“We should emphasize not Negro history, but the Negro in history. What we need is not a history of selected races or nations, but the history of the world void of national bias, race hate, and religious prejudice.” – Carter Woodson