First written – 29th June 2020
When racism is directed at me, I feel worthless. I feel downtrodden. It may have been at the end of a wonderful day – but that is all can think about. It is like a rug being pulled from under me. If the plan was to hurt me – it worked. It hurts.
I feel that these insults will never end because I’ll always be black. I can’t change that, and I don’t want to change that. I want you to know that I am black and proud of who I am, but I despair when people seem to want to convince me that being black is a bad thing. That being black is undesirable.
My faults appear to be bigger than everyone elses. I work three times as hard for what half the wages. I have to jump higher to prove myself. I am rejected and humiliated. I travel home with tears in my eyes. Or if it’s not home time, I go to the staff toilets to cry quietly. I am upset – and they call me sensitive. I make a complaint and I am labelled a trouble maker. I speak up for myself and they call me aggressive or the angry black woman. Do you see what we have to go through? Then you would be angry too.
Black People put up with so much and have to bite our lip and smile and carry on. The burden makes us sick. It makes us suffer more from depression, high blood pressure and heart problems. Check the statistics on our death rate. Even with healthy eating and exercise, real peace on the inside is hard to maintain and it eats away at us from the inside.
But I love my blackness. I love my dark shade. I am not ambiguous. You look at me and know who I am. I am where I am in spite of my blackness and in some cases because of my blackness. Why do you not love me for who I am? Why do you not appreciate my beauty – inside and out? Why would you deny yourself the pleasure of knowing me, and what I can do for you. Why would you close the door on my talent and my intellect because you cannot see past my colour?
So if someone is being racists towards me yes, it pains me. It’s like a dagger to the heart. It hurts just as bad when you are racist to my sister or my brother or someone black person I don’t even know. It hurts us as blacks people when we see unfairness against us in the press or in the justice system. When we are disproportionately in prison because we cannot afford decent lawyers, or black people are disproportionately poor because employers won’t give us jobs or won’t promote us.
Employers make a myriad of the excuses for not hiring us. We are under qualified or don’t have enough experience. Or we are over qualified Or we will not fit in. A less qualified or less experienced person typically gets the promotion and it is the black person who was denied the opportunity who has to teach the successful applicant how to do their role. This happens so often in corporate life – it is unbelievable.
The faces of Senior Management and middle Management Teams are now being placed on corporate websites. So it is now obvious to all that black faces in senior positions are still few and far between. When a firm does not hire or promote black staff – you are sentencing black families to poverty. Firms are still thinking – certain positions with high salaries need to be kept with the Caucasian race. And if HR departments say – black people are not coming forward for positions – where exactly are you advertising these positions? Are Companies using recruitment companies who will pro-actively find qualified staff of colour? Are they advertising in black press, or black online portals. Or is their advertising money going to typical mainstream sites in a scatter gun approach.
Rejection provides a temporary pain spasm, but it can stiffen resolve to succeed anyway, be the best anyway. It is the firm’s loss, but it is hurting our bank balance and our families suffer.
Sometimes you want to say – in an application – ” I am black. If you don’t want to hire a black person, please don’t invite me to an interview and waste my time. Maybe someone else might need my skills and experience. ” This is what the first black police woman in the UK said. They hired her.
When I walk into a room – they see black first. I will always seem to be from a different world to the mainstream if I live in a white majority country. But in my mind I walk into a room as a human being with high aspirations and sensibilities. I want what everyone wants. A great Job or a great Business. Or both. Success. Recognition and an ability to help others.
When you see black people who have made it to the top of their game, appreciate and respect them. They are modern day superheroes who have made it in spite of the barriers. They will have jumped more fences and climbed more mountains than the ordinary man or woman. And would have experienced jabs and put downs along the way.
I try to walk tall and plaster on a smile – even though far too often I am hurting inside. This is the black person in a Corporate space at one time or another. Yes everybody has problems – but the racism hits us harder. It goes to our core.
Don’t they know I am human? Don’t they care that I have feelings. If they cut me, do I not bleed. I am not inferior as they are trying to make me feel, but yes I did want to go home and cry.
But I must be brave and put my best foot forward. I will not buckle and crumble on the outside, but you must know that’s how I am feeling. The depths of my eyes tell the truth, but do you even look at me? Really look at me? do you see the pain in my eyes? Or do you look past me, as if embarrassed to meet my gaze?
I feel that even as I strive to rise to the top, there will be some people who say she’s black and is getting ahead of herself. @She’s getting uppity.” An example of this is Eamon Holmes calling Duchess Meghan Uppity on live TV in 2019. Not in 1959.
Anyone who has read the press and seeing the negative press that Meghan Markle has received must wonder why? Why would you be horrible to a lady and lambast her for actions that you have praised others for in the same situation. When you attack her you attack me and people of colour around the world feel her pain. If it is class, snobbery or jealousy that causes the backlash we still feel her pain.
When the Daily Mail comment section amplifies the hate against her – you wonder why would a news media provide such a platform and whip up readers to a negative frenzy. Is this a money thing? Because if so they are earning a hell of a lot of money from mentioning Meghan’s name in ten or more articles a day.
The journalists are getting paid? The mail is getting more visitors and the interaction is earning them money through increased hits which attracts more advertising. Hate is profiting. One journalist who used to work for the Mail said they had to produce a story about Meghan ever 30 minutes. True or Not – it did not matter.
I say to any media portal which finds they are gathering hatemongers – ban the comments section under any Meghan or Harry article. This should be done on any platform that finds their comments are mostly negative and insulting about a person. It can be done. I’ve seen articles about other topics where comments are disallowed so they could turn the fawcett off.
And why do advertisers continue to support these platforms. Don’t they realise the damage that is being done?
There used to be a time when YouTube comments under any black video was full of n-word name-calling and insults. This has changed. Technology and staff began to catch these comments. Horrors are swiftly removed. I remember when my children were young, if I showed them a video on YouTube, I would quickly move past the comments as there would be racial insults and profanity.
I used to notice TMZ’s website was a despot of racism and hate speech. I note that since the Black Lives Matter protests, they have finally done what they should have done a long time ago. Cancel the comment section.
I run the website BlackEconomics.co.uk We made the deliberate decision to not accept comments on the site. On our site, you read, learn, listen or watch. You don’t give an opinion. You can do that on social media where there are controls.
When a black person is at the top they are still not free from racism. Consider President Obama and Michelle Obama, LeBron James and Kanye West. Some didn’t like when Beyoncé came out with her lemonade album. Formation was too black for them. One journalist said, why does she have to do this black stuff. They felt that she should go back to her generic music about love and stuff.
When these famous black people are racially abused, I am affected. Our young people are affected. I can’t help but feel their pain and realise maybe it will never end. There is only so much you can ignore or pretend you don’t notice. It’s like we are trying to live a double life.
For black people who have succeeded – they should absolutely be celebrated, for along the way, they had to overcome many barriers – and some barriers and traps were even erected by their own community. There would have been people who don’t believe in their ambitions or like crabs in a barrel don’t want to see one of their own get success and they be left behind. But like families who are the harshest critic, there is usually a making up later.
Do I dare dream that racism will soon pass. Not so for footballers, who must feel awful when they work so hard and still get attacked on the pitch or online. It seems to be getting worse.
It’s nice to see white people standing up against racism. We are thankful to those who do. If they find a way to ensure this is not the norm and not acceptable then kudos to them. But its weird watching press who have put out offensive articles also become indignant when our sports people experience racist attacks. Maybe as Prince Harry said they are unaware of their unconscious bias.
In that case they all need diversity training. And they ought to have a Diversity editor who reads every article before it is published. Any self respecting news or lifestyle media should not be putting out racist and bullying material or whipping up negative hysteria, pandering to the jealous snobs who have nothing better to do.
And if they keep a comment section, the offensive comments should be traced and used against the writers who think they can hide behind a keyboard and won’t be found out. Let their families and workplace know and inform the police.
As head of IT in a previous job, I was able to track down who had sent a horrible message to a celebrity. The police then visited the guilty person’s home. I bet he never did that again. The technology exists to do this. A new social media account has to be linked to a telephone number. The location of that telephone can be traced. There is no excuse for Social Media Companies. They can stop online bullying and racist comments. But do they have the will.
So before you make your next racist jibe – remember the person at the end of it. They are human too – and they may be feeling so low that they want to end it all. Or they may internalise the pain – but this builds up and breaks down the bodies defences. They may eventually be ill from this. Then you will be partially responsible for chronic illness or murder. Some people feel that the The BeKind mantra does not apply to them. Its only for other people.
White person! Asian person! You don’t need to be a racist. If you know someone is racist or says something in your earshot – you need to call it out and shut it down. If you care – don’t stand by and collude.
Do you have a black friend? If not get one, or two, or more. Many black people have amazing talent and make brilliant friends. They have great humour, and a listening ear. Don’t be jealous. Get close and be successful together. It’s a beautiful thing to see multi-racial friendships and relationships thriving. Don’t miss out.
D S Grant