I spent a long time thinking about today’s post and drafted quite a few versions, but I decided that the straight-forward option would be the best.
I’m a white male who has grown up in a predominately white community. I’ve had certain opportunities which have not been open to every person in our society. Living in multi-cultural London has made me much more aware of the differences and the struggles that others have faced that I’ve never had to.
Last night I was talking to some friends who were telling me their stories of the racism they’ve experienced. A guy the same age as me has been stopped by the police over 50 times, including five times in the same day, just because he’s black. I’ve never been stopped by the police once. Yes, he grew up on a South London housing estate, but we now live in the same area. He still gets stopped. I don’t. His wife said that she’s been stopped too, even when just going to the newsagents to buy a paper for her parents. Again, it’s just never happened to me. Another friend told a story of how some people followed his car and tried to attack him, again just because he’s black. My friends went on to explain that they have to work three times harder at everything, just to get to the same position as a white person. I’ve vaguely been aware of these sort of stories, but it was certainly an eye-opening conversation for me to hear it directly from people I know.
Talking about it is a good first start, but we all need to do much more. I know that I haven’t always been the best at recognising the unfair advantages I’ve had, and this blog post doesn’t go nearly far enough, but I intend to do my best to rectify it where I can.