It’s been a big week (again) in the world of anti-racism here in the UK. After the England male football team’s last minute defeat in the Euro final, three Black players received a torrent of racist abuse.
In actual fact, these players receive racist abuse every day, but this week it’s been particularly high profile.
There’s been an outpouring of support with many, many individuals declaring their admiration for the three men. The events have fueled discussions in the media, in the Houses of Parliament and in the streets. It’s inspired a new Facebook profile icon for people to visibly demonstrate their support.
All this is positive, I guess. It proves to the non-believers that racism in the UK is genuinely a thing. It also shows how many people are not racist, and are willing to speak out against racism.
In all honesty though, people being called racially abusive names is abhorent, but it’s the least of our problems. It’s systemic racism that really needs to be addressed. It’s the fact that the framework of the UK contains unacceptable imbalances in the experiences of ethnic minorities versus those who are White.
I’ve struggled with what to write this week and yet I need to write something.
It’s been a tough week. A week that has centred on women. It’s been painful and I’ve struggled to find the silver lining. Maybe this week will drive more conversation about equality? Maybe it will open people’s eyes to the prejudice perpetuated by the media?
The week started on International Women’s Day. A day to celebrate how far we’ve come in women’s equality. And then…
This blog has been bubbling away for a little while. It’s a tricky one for me, but now’s the time. There are two things that have spurred me to to talk about “palatable Blackness”. The first was a great conversation with the co-founder of MixEd, a new platform for mixed race educators. Louise bravely shared her personal story and mixed race experience on the day the platform launched. The second is the Meghan furore….and who hasn’t been triggered by the omnipresent Meghan-Harry-Oprah discourse circulating this week?
I’m still buzzing as I write today’s blog. I’ve just put down the phone to Alan Clifford, the BBC Radio Nottingham presenter. I had a really healthy, challenging chat with him today as I reviewed the news for his Sunday morning show (available on BBC Sounds if you’d like to listen).
I chose three news stories from this last week and what I loved about it, was that they opened up conversations about race, division, representation and equality. Alan asked some questions that I think a lot of people would probably ask too. Is literacy on the decline because of “text speak”? Doesn’t all this talk of race on social media bring more division? Isn’t it hard to keep up with the ever changing language about racial identity?
It made me realise how much I often luxuriate in my own echo chamber. So many of the people I speak to are joining me in educating themselves about race and diversity and are on the same page as me in terms of recognising the injustices and ways society needs to improve. Alan gave me the chance to publicly challenge the perceptions of many people who don’t agree, or aren’t aware, or aren’t interested. And that’s what Oo! That’s A Bit Racey! is all about – sparking conversation, debate, and, ultimately, change.