‘Growing up a White British Female has allowed me to grow up privileged’

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Growing up a white British female has allowed me to grow up privileged.  Privileged because I am always able to see people like me represented by the media.  Privileged because I am not treated negatively due to the colour of my skin.  Whilst I am obviously grateful for this, this privilege that I have experienced should never have occurred.  Seeing people of the same ethnicity as me in the media should not be treated as an honour; and instead people from all different cultures and backgrounds should be represented by the media and society in general.

Due to my background, I ashamedly say that I grew up blinded by this privilege.  My mother always taught me about issues such as racism; meaning that I was not completely ignorant, although I was blinded nonetheless.  I was very fortunate in the sense that mum made sure that I was aware of what the issues surrounding racism were, as well as how we need to work together to ensure that everyone is loved for their personality rather than their ethnicity and background.  For this reason, I grew up not understanding why some people chose to be ignorant and racist.  However, because of the British education system and lack of representation in the media I was unaware of just how bad this level of ignorance still was- how people were STILL being judged merely on the colour of their skin.  I learnt very little in school about other cultures; and was seemingly blissfully unaware of any racism that was going on in the World around me.  I was also fortunate as my peers in school were accepting and loving of people; meaning that I had never been exposed to such levels of hate and ignorance before.

I grew up not knowing much about other cultures.  Although, this was something that I was never happy about.  I take great interest in each of my friends’ cultures, as it is important to me that I have an understanding as to their races and religions.  Each of the stories I have heard have greatly interested me; but it saddens me that I would never have known the stories and my knowledge would not be anywhere near as rich if I had not befriended these people.  I would never have known, for instance, about the Golden Temple and the massacre of the Sikh’s if I had not spoken to one of my friends (who actually co-founded this blog).

I would never have known about colourism if it weren’t for another friend of mine (again, who co-founded this blog).  As she explained colourism to me, I couldn’t help but feel upset and emotional.  It hurts me to know that people that I love (and who deserve to be loved) are not represented in the media.  It had never really occurred to me that colourism is a thing.  I guess this is because it doesn’t affect me; but that doesn’t make my ignorance acceptable.  It is so important that we utilise our education system (and others across the World) in order to help everyone understand that they are beautiful regardless of characteristics such as: race, gender, sex, sexuality, disability, appearance etc.  I cannot even emphasise how important I feel this is.  Everyone deserves to be confident, to feel loved, and to see people like themselves represented in the media.

The same friend recently said that I was ‘woke’.  If you are unaware as to what this means, it basically means that an individual is aware of social injustice and that they are actively sharing information concerning issues regardless of whether they affect them themselves.  In one sense being called woke is obviously a huge compliment.  It is good to know that my efforts to share information to do with any sort of social injustice problem do not go unnoticed.  It is also good to know that people are aware of how strongly I feel about these topics.  However, in another sense the term makes me a little sad.  It makes me sad because ‘woke people’ as a separate group should not be a thing.  In other words, there should be no such thing as people who are not woke.  Everyone should be fighting for equality and justice, regardless of whether they are personally affected or not, as it is the correct thing to do.  It is no use saying that you are upset by something without actively trying to spread the word about it.

Recently, I was hit by the realisation that if people had not actively campaigned against issues such as racism and homophobia in the past, I would not have been allowed to meet my friends.  I would only have been allowed to talk to one of my friends.  One.  This is understandably insane to me, and upsets me as it shows how people in the past were prevented from meeting wonderful people.  They were prevented from making such lovely friends- friends that I know I couldn’t go a day without today.  This just shows that although the World still has such a long way to go, we have already come so far; proving that change is possible.  Admittedly, we should never have needed to campaign against things because they should never have existed in the first place.  All I can say is I am so grateful for all of those who fought for greater equality, and I will continue to be thankful as I have met my best friends because of them.  Having said that, I will continue to do my best to enforce greater equality, as I am more than aware that we need to improve a hell of a lot more.

Overall, I guess we have to work together.  It is no good letting people who are affected by the ignorance fight alone.  We must all work together- white people and people of colour alike, as this is the only way that ignorant hate will truly be eradicated.  I am so sorry for ignorant people and for the lack of representation in the media.  I am hoping that the education systems and media will be improved so that we can all learn to love and accept people for who they are; as well as learning about different cultures as a whole.  Keep on being the Kings/Queens that you are, as you all deserve to feel like it.

Did you relate to this? Do you have any questions? If so, write them in the comment section below- we would love to hear from you:)

If you would like to share your stories, experiences and opinions email us at oneisnotenough16@gmail.com.

Bless x

#Oneisnotenough TEAM

Twitter: @1isnotenough

The Black Woman is Angry

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Note: This was originally written on blog ramsaywithana.wordpress.com by One is not enough contributor Georgina Ramsay

First, let me begin by stating the obvious in order to clarify the meaning of this post: the ‘angry black woman stereotype’, like all racial stereotypes, is incredibly dehumanising because not only does it assume all black women are the same but it is also a means of silencing our individual voices by discarding our thoughts and feelings as just ‘anger’. It suggests that the full spectrum of human emotions is a luxury not afforded to black women.

It’s funny, and by funny I mean not funny at all, that the same people who are so quick to use the ‘angry black woman’ stereotype are not so quick when it comes to questioning why it is we might be angry. Unless you have been living under a rock (or are just embarrassingly ignorant) you will be aware of the tragedies that have occurred in the USA over the past few days: the police killing of two black men, Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, within two days followed by the death of five police officers in a sniper attack during a peaceful protest in response to police violence.

As a result, it has been near-impossible to go on any form of social media without being forced to see the murder of black men at the hands of police as the last moments of their lives are constantly posted, shared and retweeted.  Consequently, on Thursday night and in the early hours of Friday morning I found myself unable to sleep as these videos replayed themselves in my head. That’s when I started writing  ‘This Black Woman is Angry . Not because that is the only emotion black women are capable of, but because this world gives us plenty of reasons to be.

I was angry that it is now commonplace to see the murder of black people online; angry that Diamond Reynolds, Philando Castile’s girlfriend, had to live stream the murder of her boyfriend because she couldn’t rely on the justice system; angry that her four-year-old daughter saw things no adult should ever have to see, let alone a child; that she was forced to comfort her mother in the back of a police car moments after her father figure lay dying in the seat in front of her. I was angry that black bodies aren’t treated with dignity or respect except when they are used to make a profit; that there are people grieving for their loved ones all because being black is a crime punishable by death and angry that other people were not angry too.

So I ended up writing this poem entitled ‘This Black Woman is Angry’ because I was, I am and I have every right to be.

This Black Woman is Angry

This black woman is angry.
Yes, this black woman is angry as hell.
In a world where the colour of one’s skin,
Their melanin,
Is reason enough to kill
You should be angry as well.

This black woman is frustrated.
Her brothers and sisters are unjustly incarcerated
So they can be falsely painted as thugs,
Dangerous villains,
Who drink,
Can’t think.
Do drugs.

This black woman is confused
Because the same people who paint this picture,
Will post a picture
Wearing our hair,
Our features,
Our skin

Like costumes,
Turning a blind eye to what’s within.
You cannot,
You will not,
Discard our hearts.
We are not a sum of parts
To be disposed of at your refusal.
We are not objects for your perusal.
Not here for your approval,
You do not own us.

This black woman is tired
Of people policing our feelings
When the police can’t even police their feelings.
So stop with your ifs, buts and excuses,
Enough is enough.
You cannot justify injustice.

This black woman has questions:
Who made you this violent?
Tell me what did they do?
Is someone going around
Killing your people too?

This black woman is scared
Because they shout “slavery’s over”
As the streets flood
With the blood from strange fruit.
If slavery’s over,
Tell me,
Why can I still feel this noose around my neck?
Reminding me my life hangs on a thread,
That it just takes one racist
To shoot me dead.

A wise man once said:
“Just because we’re magic, doesn’t mean we’re not real”,
So you can’t kill us
Then expect us not to feel
Angry,
Tired,
Frustrated,
Confused
Scared.

This black woman is angry,
Her brothers and sisters are being beaten,
Until their black is black and blue.
This black woman is angry,
The question is:
Why aren’t you?

G.J.Ramsay

 

“In both of my primary schools I have experienced some form of racism”

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Looking back I was super girly growing up so I really liked things like Barbie, Angelina ballerina and the Disney princesses. Of course I knew I looked nothing like them but at the time I didn’t really realise how it made me feel.
I also watched a lot of Disney shows. My sister is five years older than me so I spent a lot of time watching her TV shows. Things like Sister Sister and That’s So Raven. I felt like in terms of to I watched regularly they represented me. Even though they were all mixed race. When I really looked at that’s so raven especially I was later confused as to why she was so light compared to her family members. Comparing this to KC undercover where the same thing is happening again it’s clear to see that a lot of the time they don’t like to use dark-skin actresses.
 
In both of my primary schools I have experienced some form of racism. When I moved schools in year five it was very obvious to see that I was the only black student in my whole school. Not even a single mixed race student. I didn’t mind but it was quite weird. Fast forward nine years and my brother is in the school. The number of people of colour has increased but there is still a lot of racism. The use of the n word has come up quite a lot. And it’s sad to see young kids using that kind of racial slander against other, when reported to the school they are only given a warning and a couple of minutes off play.

Quite ironically this year my school  got a record number of people into Oxbridge, 39. But out of that only one student is black. 1/39 is crazy. There was no shortage of applicants. Obviously I know there’s a lot more that goes into getting an offer but the number is ridiculous.

I think it’s really important to show young people of colour that there are people in different industries that they can aspire to be like. It makes those top positions seem more achievable when you see someone like you in them.

Did you relate to this? Do you have any questions? If so, write them in the comment section below- we would love to hear from you 🙂

If you would like to share your stories, experiences and opinions email us at oneisnotenough16@gmail.com.

Bless x

#Oneisnotenough TEAM

Twitter: @1isnotenough