When I first found out that I was moving to England, I was more excited than anything, and I’m sure pretty scared too. I was about to say goodbye to all my friends, my relatives, and the only world I’ve known up until that point. Kingston, Jamaica for me was a place of everything, the gunman, the chiney man, the black gyal, the white man and yeah we had our problems but race and where we came from was not an issue as such. After all, our motto was “out of many, one people”. Folks just wanted to survive, no matter the means it took to reach the end goal. However, nothing in the world could have prepared me for the experiences I had waiting for me across the ocean in yonder!
Fast forward a year after arriving and living in Sheffield I was a happy little kid until some shit started hitting the fan. I noticed that my skin colour was a regular point of reference, how black I was, how shy I was and all of that moved on to secondary school where my black peers were the ones pointing out my melanin but for how “blick” it was, not beautiful.
Okay? so, now the confusions working my head a little. Identity crisis is rearing it’s ugly head!
Why is it that the colour of my skin was being made fun of because of its shade and how dark it was? I encountered this more from black kids at the time than white folks. As I got older a pattern started emerging and I started to understand something. I live in Europe, A place where you are not taught within white institutions to love your colour, love your race and to cherish it because quite frankly, you are royalty. In fact, we are subliminally and subconsciously fed images of white beauty, it’s innocence, and it’s exclusivity etc. We are only recognized when we beat world records in sport or when we hit the pop charts with an anthem to entertain masses, not educate. Why should we should we continue to be limited to the bar of being someone else’s entertainment to quench their boredom, and why are we not liberating our minds. It ain’t physical slavery anymore boo, it’s mental.
We can’t identify with the norm that is lodged and etched into Babylonian societal structures. We are taught covertly that we are not good enough, not beautiful enough, not smart enough to reach influential positions in government places, the creative industry, and everyday life. This was already decided for us, we did not get to choose. I find it quite sad that the young black and ethnic majorities are taught not to love who they are, but when you don’t know your history and your roots, well you don’t know your worth and significance of it. Is it a coincidence that most history books are filled with European conquerors, statesmen, philosophers and other educators but rarely are we included, with the exception of the complimentary addition of Black History month, the one time in the year we’re given fragments and often times distorted accounts of our history?
It is up to us to educate ourselves and in turn educating the black youth on their power, their grace and their influence. I taught myself much of what I know through reading and lived experiences. There was always something in the back of my brain that thought it was disturbing that a black man would pay more respect to a white woman than his black queen. That we’re the only race to have so many missing mothers and fathers, that our children think it’s normal that cultural appropriation exists and the exploitation of black inventions monetized and fed back into the hands of the oppressor rather than being invested back into our communities.
Black, Asian and ethnic majorities are filtered off into some of the most deprived areas of the UK with little to no funding to develop their communities and their opportunities. That is not normal and it shouldn’t be tolerated. So many of our youths are then forced into drugs, crime, anti-social behavior just to make ends meet and then incarcerated as punishment with little to come back to than the same old routine that was getting them by in the first place. I’ve come to the conclusion and I’m sure many share the same sentiment and I would love to hear from you all. This conclusion is that, instead of sitting around waiting for our oppressors to take heed and invest in our well-beings, why don’t we take back that control and make a conscious effort to utilize whatever gifts and faculties we have been given, to really uplift, inspire and develop our communities. It’s not up to them, it’s up to us. If we want to see change, if we want a better life for our children then why do we keep blindly walking into the stereotypes? We have the ability to flip the script, look at our past and to shape our futures. It doesn’t have to continue how it started, it’s if we’re willing to partake in that revolution.
Black is beautiful, Black is gold. Don’t let European standards tarnish your soul.