The black story is one of the most denied stories within the UK. Us British people have created this narrative that racism does not exist in the UK, that we live in some multi-cultural utopia. But this narrative has been created by the dominator whilst the dominated have their stories scrutinised at every step, or straight up ignored. During the process of scrutiny, if a black person believes they have been a victim of racism, the phrase which is chucked into our faces is “stop using the race card”. When one hears “stop using the race card” it is a straight denial of the reality which black people are living through, every day of our lives. I have spent hours trying to work out why, when someone of colour calls out racism, there is a defensive wall built which can only be torn down with the empirical evidence of racism. If the evidence is not good enough the wall continues to stand. But the cherry picking of statistics or the misinformed opinion of the dominator should not dictate the narrative of the dominated.
However, some sympathy must go out to many. No one is born racist; racism is a social construction. A racist doctrine is taught and learnt, rather than something that is innate to the human species. In the same way you could look back and think why was I taught a certain subject during school? Many of us have been taught beliefs from society, institutions and interpersonal relationships which are wrong. As much as we can blame a racist for their belief system, the real questions are: Where did this belief system come from? What can we do as a society to abolish such belief systems?
Now as much I can talk about racism and the denial of the black story; it is important we discuss what it even means to be racist. Some would argue it is all in the interaction and whether someone discriminates against you solely due to your race. Others will tell you it is bigger than that, as racism is larger than just interactions between races. Racism is about the systemic injustices against black people. Unfortunately, until society is fair and just, I believe racism is not merely more than just discrimination from race to race. As, when the benefiters of society make a racist remark it holds a lot more weight. In comparison to those who are systemically being held back by society saying something which discriminates against white people. The part above is the hardest thing for me to explain via the written word because I have thought it is not fair, this burden white people carry on their back. Not every white person is racist. Not every white person has these racist beliefs systems. Why should they carry the burden of this world’s racist history. It is not until I had a deeper look into what racism is and where it comes from. This racist system was built by white people and can only be disenfranchised by white people. That is why I am here writing. If I can help change beliefs systems, then my writing is not pointless.
Institutions within the UK promote a false reality which becomes the actual reality for many. You may see a black person and subconsciously deem that black person as criminal, which will then influence your behaviour. The times black people get into an elevator and people inside tightly grip their possessions. That behaviour choice was created by the reality and belief system that person is living by. Any person who does not see a black person as criminal will not be worried about their possession’s. Such belief systems are created by demonization of the other. Not all black people are criminals, however institutions have created this reality. The amount of blacks in the prison system in comparison to the amount of the blacks within the UK is extremely out of proportion. A report shared by Labour MP David Lammy found that B.A.M.E people represent 14% of the UK population but represent 25% of the prison population. This proportion helps to build and maintain these false beliefs about black people and other ethnic minorities. But when we look deeper at the institutional injustices faced by black people, no wonder “black” and “criminality” are often uttered in the same breath. From legislation to the glass ceiling. How are black people meant to live in a society we are barely supposed to survive in?
Every black child is lectured throughout their childhood. Reminding us about how society is not fair towards us and to be a success you have to work twice as hard as your white counterparts. Something I clearly remember is my parents systematically giving me that same lecture. Reminding me I was not the same as my friends in the eyes of society. They understand how society is, their actual reality is not blinded by how institutions portray black people. However, someone with a racist belief system has a very different reality. Most do not see the huge disparities between how races are treated by UK institutions. No wonder, racist attitudes are still rife in contemporary society. Racist beliefs systems can be backed up with legitimate statistics, which create, cement and promote racist attitudes.
With all this education society must strive to do better. This means we must create an environment where we can see through such deceiving statistics. We must see the deep institutional injustices which create environments where such statistics can be formed. Lastly, once we truly see how society treats black people such beliefs systems will be harder to form and maintain. Creating a better society, where the phrase “the race card” has become meaningless and we move into an era of the acceptance of the black story.