As Jane Elliott said, “All those who want to be treated like a black person, please stand up.” Nobody did! The blue eyed and brown eyed exercise was amazingly revealing! I so love Jane Elliott’s work!
Well, with everything that is happening in the USA and worldwide, all I can do is let you know a little bit about my life as a black woman.
But first, a little history. The UK was reasonably fine with black people. It wasn’t until the USA influenced the UK that things changed. So I will focus on the USA black history. After all, when the USA sneezes, the UK catches a cold!
I’m sure I don’t need to remind everyone of white people going to Africa to, raid, rape and pillage the country. Millions of abductions! Even that part I learnt at school. So we will jump ahead.
When slavery was outlawed, (13th amendment), those who were previous slaves now needed to pay rent and other costs. If they did not pay, the new laws said that you are “free” unless you are criminalised. This loophole resulted in many going to jail for minor charges eg non payment, wolf whistling a white woman, for, disproportionately to the crime, extensive periods. Then “hired out” to plantations to work. Slavery in any other name and money being made from it. The 13th amendment created more and more single mothers of colour. No father figure to guide them, mothers working as much as possible to survive, so the children were left to their own devices. Economic deprivation and lack of investment has made sure this situation never improves. When the first black bank and town was built, and doing very well, it was burnt to the ground. If any black person fought back, they were arrested, not the white aggressor who burnt it all down, only the black person. Trying to keep the black person as a second class citizen, which is reflected in the laws and attitudes then and now. When the slaves got their “freedom” they were not compensated. However, the slave owners were paid, as they lost their “property”. I believe at least Jamaica was still asking for some form of compensation for taking people against their will. The abductees lost their life, family, friends, country, home, customs and language, and nothing to show for it!
READ Robert Smalls’ story here
The media are a curse and a blessing. A curse for false or exaggerated reporting eg 100 whites killed (when in fact it was 2). Narrative for white violent outbreaks as overzealous young people. But for black people it is described as a riot, thugs, animals. Anything that reflects black people in a good light is not reported on. This was the truth then and it is the truth now. A recent blessing, is they can’t get away with false reporting as someone somewhere has it on CCT or on their mobile…although I still think the media are controlled.
I do not in any way shape or form condone violence. Nowadays, there are other ways via the internet and reaching masses of people to get the point across. However, look at the USA/UK history. The white people landed in The USA and again raid, raped and pillaged the Indian community who still suffer today. Nothing in history has been achieved by the white person without a degree of violence. This is regarded nowadays as white privilege.
My introduction to racism was asking my dad questions, of which one was, “Dad where did you get those scars?” It turned out that my dad, on his days off work, used to practise running from the train station, to the house, put his keys in the door and get in as soon as possible. If not he ended up on the wrong end of a stoning by those waiting for him at the train station to come home.
When my parents arrived in the UK, a study was done to find out how many black people signed on to get social security or help. Only a few did!!! But, because it wasn’t in the whites interest to publish this information, everyone said blacks took their jobs etc. We wouldn’t have arrived if we weren’t invited!! Now don’t get me going on Windrush!!
Later while walking to school, I had ink poured down the back of my uniformed coat, with some nasty words that I didn’t really understand at the time. I liked that coat.
Then later going for a Saturday job with my white (Polish descent) friend. I asked if the job in the window was still available. No was the answer. My friend said she would try and she was taken on as a trial the following Saturday! I was mouthy even then and I spoke up as I dragged my friend back in the shop and said this is my friend, how come she got the job and I didn’t? The manager babbled something, but I was soooo angry, I can’t remember what they said…other than if we don’t leave they would call the police! It was my friend who dragged me out of the shop, because I would have stayed there until the police arrived! We are still friends now, coming up for 50 years! Bless her!
At the end of the 80’s I felt that the UK was draining my happy essence out of me so we decided to move to Spain. I first did a lot of research on the welcoming of blacks in Spain. Southern Spain was reported to be friendlier than northern Spain. Maybe due to the Arabs being here for so long and Spaniards travelling for work. The south had more understanding of economic migration.
I was once told by a Spaniard, to go home to Africa. I said, funnily enough, it’s one country I haven’t visited yet, so I may well take his advice and visit there, would he suggest anywhere? All his friends laughed at him.
The GC kept pulling me over for my car documents. “How come you drive a car like this?” I respond with “I don’t have to answer that, just check my documents please. However, do you have children? Do you smoke? Do you drink? Well I don’t, so I spend my legally earned money how I want to thank you! ” At one stage, I was stopped at least once a week! Once my husband and I had a word with the Captain of the local GC I was not pulled over anymore.
I am constantly asked by the UK people here “where were you born?” “London, says I.” “No really, where do you come from?” So depending on HOW they ask, depends on my answer. Sometimes it’s “ Ohhh, you mean where my PARENTS come from, because I can only be born in one place and that is as I already said, in London!” OR “Us humans come from our mother’s womb. How about you? Where do you come from?” That tends to shut them up and let them know my thinking on the matter in question!
If I get a really obnoxious person, I remind them that here in Spain, they are a foreigner too, so do not try to be any superior to me. Here, it is a different game and rules, for me a very even keel, and I love it!! Especially as I’m totally legal and some here are not!
A UK person at a bar said to my husband, “Oh there’s the nxxxxr lover” They stepped outside, a fight broke out and a long story short, the male in question was deported back to the UK that afternoon. He was wanted for some other naughty goings on in the UK. The Spanish bar owner asked my husband what happened. As my husband explained, the owner said, you should have said, I would have beaten him too. I love your wife! jajaja!!
I volunteered once. A person of age told me they didn’t like me when they saw me. “Why?” I asked. This was their response. “I was walking down the road with my children (when they were 5 and 6 years old-they are in their 50’s now!!) when a group of black boys were walking towards us.” “What happened?” I asked. “Nothing, they just walked past, but I was soooo scared.” After a moment to digest this, I asked “What size shoes were they wearing? Size 6, size 7? Why are you not terrified of boys with size 6 or 7 shoes now?” “Sounds silly now doesn’t it?” says she. However, she still had a reaction years later to my colour?!!! The older generation are set in their ways and lost to think any differently. We should concentrate on the next generation for any hope of change for the future.
I used to joke and laugh along to slightly hidden stabs at my colour under the guise of humour, see B below, but as I’m getting older, I am more intolerant of it. Maybe it is due to the fact that I’ve retired and I have no need to endure ignorance and rudeness any longer. Maybe that is why older people have a more don’t-mess-with-me attitude?! jajajjaj!!
For the folks already here in Spain, I can only try to change one mind at a time. It is exhausting! Everyone should stand up when they see something wrong happening. No need to get involved, if it appears dangerous, but call the authorities, make sure it is reported. Video/record it. The more that is reported, the higher chance they will do something about the recurring problems as the number increases. It is like breastfeeding in public. The most natural thing, but some people are outraged by it. If I saw something like this, a mother being bullied, I would quietly just go, sit beside the person and talk to them. I would think this would defuse the whole situation….and also video the aggressor! I would never suggest anyone put themselves in harm’s way.
But the way forward, in my opinion, is to tell ALL history, good and bad, to educate the next generation. There are a lot of well documented successful black people despite every obstacle being thrown our way!
The difference now, is that more non black people are demonstrating and videoing every injustice. The huge difference is everyone has a mobile and they record some offbeat situations that would normally be missed by the media. Some non black supporters of equality carry weight in various offices of influence. However, those in “power” will not want to lose money, so the journey continues to be a hard one!
Do we need an alien invasion for the human race to come together as one? I certainly hope not!! Read and take to heart the motto, and it’s on the Coat of Arms, for Jamaica is, Out of Many, One People!
If black people are so terrible, why not give us an even playing field? Then we will see how harmonious the world could be.
If you have an hour or so free to be educated, please watch “13” on Netflix which is a documentary. Most enlightening!