‘BLACK’. A five letter word we are very familiar with. What comes to mind when you think of the word ‘Black’? Not sure? Well, according to the Oxford Dictionary, a black person is anyone “belonging to or denoting any human group having dark-coloured skin, especially of African ancestry”. This doesn’t paint the whole picture, so let’s delve into the various things that come with being black.
There’s a lot of ups and downs that come with being black but I want to touch on the topic of Black excellence and aiding its growth. Many of us know that to achieve this we have to work twice as hard. For this reason, people like Obama and Oprah Winfrey serve as an inspiration for our generation. However, I do believe that most blacks feel like they don’t get out what they put into education due to factors such as lack of progression within the workplace. I think we should be encouraged to take part in extracurricular activities such as sport and music a lot more as they offer the potential of a much better life. ‘Black athletic superiority’ is the theory that black people possess certain traits that allow them to excel over others in athletic competition. I tend to agree with this statement as growing up, I saw that many blacks naturally excelled in sport. Unfortunately, many stopped participating as they grew up and fell behind their peers.
Personally, I believe black families should really start supporting their kids to carry on participating in these activities but also remember to have a plan B such as studying on the side. However, I am not naive enough to believe that this plan can always work. For example, most footballers in the academy system of professional clubs aren’t offered the chance to do A levels alongside playing which poses a risk if they do not make it. I think steps similar to those of the NFL system in the US where studying and playing takes place simultaneously need to be implemented in the UK too. This will eventually lead to an increase in the participation of blacks. In the meantime, we can slowly change this by setting up local black focused music lessons, football sessions, karate lessons etc. I want our generation to create a paradigm shift so that when we have children we will encourage them to excel in things that are not always related to education but something that may in fact offer them a more prosperous life. However, I’d like to stress that education is important and can open doors too but I genuinely believe by exploring other avenues the influence of black excellence on the world will exponentially increase.
Now, I am going to touch on another subject. Yeah you guessed it, Black injustice. Travyon Martin. I am sure you have all heard about him, but for the people who don’t know who he is, let me just tell you about his story. Trayvon was a 17 year old Black teenager who was reported by George Zimmerman to the Police because he looked ‘suspicious’ and he eventually ended up shooting and killing him after an altercation. Following his death, many protests were held across the US. You would have thought this would have led to George Zimmerman getting life right? Of course not. He wasn’t charged for this! If you have watched, The Hate You Give, you can probably see the parallels between the two. What I got from this travesty and the film was that in the end nothing changes for us.
A closer example to home is stop and searches which I’m sure some of you reading have been victims of. People classed as Black British are eight times more likely to be stopped than white people, which further highlights the struggle we are up against. We can rally as much as we like but the system will always be against us. This feeling goes all the way back to slavery and although our conditions of living are much better now, injustice to our people is still clearly prevalent. Sam Dubose, Freddie Gray, Philando Castile. The list of police related deaths of blacks goes on. How many more lives do we have to lose before something changes? I wish I could give you guys the answer, I really do. Unfortunately, we live in a world of injustice and will have to wait and see what changes for us in the future.
I’d like to touch on one more topic briefly and that’s Black culture. This right here is unrivaled and resonates with me on a different level. Different events made me realise how unique we really are. Something even as trivial as going to an African party back in the day where all the Aunties and Uncles were singing and dancing along to P Square and you’re a little kid running around after downing some Supermalt and J rice was a great experience. And if we want to talk about something on a bigger scale then we can look to Notting Hill Carnival. Just look at how vibrant it is and how many of us congregate in one area to celebrate and dance to our music. I don’t think any other races (maybe South Americans, just maybe) can replicate the vibes we bring. Black culture is amazing and I know there’s a lot more to learn about it which can only be exciting!
‘BLACK’. A word that we are still always learning about but one that is rich in heritage and full of surprises. I’d like to encourage my fellow black people to be comfortable in their skin and know that we can have a positive effect on the world. We should strive to help the black race prosper and become stronger. On that note, Imma sign out but remember – Black is beautiful, Black is Great.
The RealTalk Team