“There comes a time when silence is betrayal”
I have picked up and put this laptop down so many times over the past few days. I have said…I am not going to write about it. For many reasons. Then…. I lay awake 4 in the morning knowing that I need to just say it. Then I think “who cares what I have to say on the matter…. what the fuck does my little blog matter”. But…. Here I am again this morning, head I my hands because I just need to say it.
The picture that accompanies this blog “there comes a time when silence is betrayal” Martin Luther King Jr was posted by my good friend this morning. She is the mother of mixed children and has seen her children suffer racism in many different ways. We have stood together against racism in lots of ways. We have tried to be the change in our own worlds. But her post hit home…..
The murder of George Floyd is beyond words that I have. He was an innocent man. And I do not want to hear no bull shit about “Underlying health conditions” Fuck off with all that. Dereck Chauvin used police brutality and excessive force to kill an innocent man. Why have the police involved in the Murder of Mr Floyd not been arrested? Why instead , is everyone focusing on the protests that are taking place and shaking their heads as buildings burn? Why does that offend some people more than a man begging for his mother as he died…a mother who passed two years ago!!!! Why is not every man and women out here demanding these police be arrested and held accountable. Why is not everyone saying this is a fucking disgrace. WHY!!!!!!
I am disgusted with some of the human race.
This is the bit where I keep getting stuck. The bit I want to get across but don’t know how. But I’m just going to have to or I won’t be sleeping any time soon.
Can we stop pretending that there are many professionals and people in power that are racist. Let’s just stop that staidness. Of course, there are. Racism is all around us, seeping into everyday life. I have seen first-hand. I fight against it always.
Can we stop pretending that white supremacy and race-based violence is not real. Stop pretending to be “woke” and except that there are some nasty people out there, people who live by a different set of rules. Be aware that some of these people do have positions of power.
I am fortunate in the respect that I do not think I have ever experienced direct racism…. on me…as a person. I have experienced sexism, Objectification, abuse, classism among others…. but I don’t think I have experienced racism directly. Well….apart from what happened to my dad….but let me come to that …
I have, however seen racism all my life. Lucky for me, it was never in my home. My mum was never that. But everywhere else it was apparent and shameful. I was raised in SW London in a very multicultural area. I went to school with people of all races and spent my youth growing up the same way. I didn’t spend time with people who were directly racist to my peers. My peers were not racist to each other. My mum was not racist.
So where did I see this racism if not at home or in my peer group?
I saw it in the adults and professionals around me. I saw it at school. I saw it in youth clubs. I saw it in other areas I went to. I saw it. And I did not understand it then and I don’t now. My dad was badly beaten for being a “Foreigner”. My dad was 6’7. Italian. Giant of a man. Strong accent. And he was beaten up for being foreign. He had to have wire put in his jaw. He was about 35 when it happened. He had lived here since her was 17. Once we were walking down to a restaurant and my dad was telling me a story in a very loud voice….He had a deep bombing voice…like an Italian gangster in a film. We were both laughing and suddenly someone shouted “Wop”. A group of white men were drining outside a pub. About 6 of them and they shouted it out again “Wop”. My dad’s whole body language changed. He was so angry. But I told him …come …. Walk away. Later that night he got very emotional and said that he couldn’t believe that he still had to hear words like that. That it made him feel worthless. I am half Italian. That blood runs through me. Yet…..I saw that as being racist to my dad. Not to me. Yet it was….but do you see that….as a white women I almost side stepped it. I wouldn’t now. Not a chance.
My sons were raised in the same area. They went to the local schools. Black history was always part of their every day lives. It was taught in the schools, not only on October but throughout. SO …for my sons…. they were raised with no racism in the home and they did not project that and never have outside the home. Its one of the core values they have been raised with. Not just by me, but as the society they grew up in.
My daughter, she grew up in Kent. It’s very different here. Black history is not as prevalent as it was in SW London. Bit she was raised in the same household with the same core values. She came home once and tole me a girl at school had the same shoes and bag as her. That they looked like Twins. She told me that she and the girl had swapped cardigans in the afternoon and sat in each other seats and the teacher didn’t notice…because they looked like twins. In the morning she asked me to do her hair like her friend so they could look like real twins. I did not know what child she was talking about so asked her several times what the hair looked like. No matter what I did it dint look right to her so when we got to school I asked her to point out the child (SO I could get it right the next day) She pointed out a little girl who is the daughter of a good friend of mine. They child in question is of mixed heritage and had her afro hair short and bouncy at the time. Just stunning. I explained to my daughter that she couldn’t have her hair the same that day, but I would try to find the same hair band as the other girls was wearing. And they went off happy together giggle about tricking the teacher at lunch time that they were twins.
Never at any point did it occur to my child about the difference in colour of their skin. And it still doesn’t.
I do not have the telly on in my house unless it is a film or documentary. Mainly because I don’t want to expose my 11-year-old daughter to the news. Not that I do not tell her the situation with COVID but things like debates and such over returning to school or easing lockdown, they are conversations that I like to have with her and we explore that together.
I do however have the radio on in the kitchen when I am in there as I do like to listen to the news and such.
And then this just happened
I have just finished cooking breakfast for my daughter was in the dining room whilst I was washing up. I turned round and jumped as she was standing right behind me. Just standing there. I asked her what was wrong, and she said
“But why would they not stop if he was saying he could not breath?”
I just stood there, tea towel in my hand. And I had nothing. I could hear the presenter continuing to talk about the protests still going on the radio in the background. She was still looking up at me. We both just stood there looking at each other as the radio spoke about protests in London. “people are filling the streets shouting, “Stop killing the mandem” and “I can’t breathe””.
“why…why did they not stop when he said he couldn’t breathe” she asked me again.
So, I told her the truth. I explained that some people don’t view black lives as important as others. That they think they can do what they want and get away with it. I explained to her that racism is still strong around the world and that people suffer every day.
My daughter is being assessed for autism. She says very blunt things. SO, I am going to be honest in what her answer was to all that I had just told her.
“What are you going to do about it Mummy”?
What Am I going to do about it……?
I told her the first thing is that I have raised children who do not think like that. She nodded. And then she said “You need to do more”
And she left the room
My child is a truth teller. Know that.
I have been fighting against racism for as long as I can remember. Even recently I have seen the racism to young people I work with in the eastern European community. Its there….and when my young people tell me they have experienced racism ai listen and I act. I don’t ignore it or tell them they might be wrong. Because I have seen it going on for too many years. I am out here stepping up within my role always….
But actually …. its about using my voice. That show I will make change. So here goes. I don’t know how this will pan out, but I need to say it.
We need to stand together and make the changes that are needed. We need to have an even platform in positions of power so that every culture is represented fairly
We need to hold people accountable for any form of racism. And we need laws to be fair and just.
I do not accept what is happing to our BME community. I do accept the racism that is imposed on my friends by those in power. I do not accept that what is happening to the children in the BME community would be good enough for my child.
I don’t fucking accept it.
George Floyd was murdered in the USA. But it is happening here in the UK
Let’s not sidestep around that fact.
Mzee Mohammed Daley
Edson da Costa
The list goes on and on…..
All killed due to police brutality. Is it happening to white people…? of course it is…. But not on this level. These protests are not about one life. Once act of brutality. They are about thousand and thousands of such acts. But read them names again. Not in the USA. Here. In our country. People’s sons, daughters, parents brothers and sisters.
I did not want to write this blog. I do not feel like I have any influence over anything. But I also can not keep my mouth shut anymore.
Do I hate the police? No of course not. I hate racists and I hate ANYONE who abuses their power over people.
Imagine crying for your mum 2 years after she died, and they still would not ease up on the restraint. No wonder people are protesting. But…. we must not protest each other. Divide and conquer…. those who are racist would love to see us all turn on each other. That’s what they want…a devied….so please don’t give them that.
Let us come together. Let’s show the racists in this world that we DO NOT practice what THEY preach. That we do not think there should be a divided. We do not need to attack each other. We need to stand together.
And even if no one stands with me…. I will continue to practice what I preach.
Lets show those in power that we ALL stand against racism. And that people have tried to protest in many different ways over hundreds of years and they are still not listening!!!!
If my blog has offended anyone, I do not mean it to. But I have a voice, small as it is, and I will use it.
Suddenly Cadet Gang Gang is at the top of my play list…….and that’s not a good thing…
I was just about to post this blog when she came back down, my daughter. She looked angry. She often looks like this. But she also looked very tearful. I reached out and touched her arm asked if she was OK.
She shakes her long blonde hair violently in a very definite no and said …
“You can’t just hate people because they are a different colour to you, it makes no sense, I don’t understand ……”
Me neither Bubba….me neither