THE TRUTH ABOUT RACISM IN THE UK
In December, grime artist Stormzy caused a media frenzy by pointing out the UK’s racism. Here, Jude Yawson, co-author with Stormzy on his book Rise Up, calls out the hypocrisy that exists in UK media and explains why we urgently need wider representation in our culture
To exist as a historically conscious black or Asian person in Britain is to exist knowing that a majority of your white counterparts do not acknowledge your history. They have not been forced to adopt centuries of trauma, or been subjected to the racialised perceptions created over that time. They have not originated from mother countries gradually drying from the imperialism they were soaked in, and do not have to live in recognition of slavery and colonialism and the impact these have had on their countries and people.
They will never walk around a university campus surrounded by artefacts stolen from other countries, or see the colonialists who ravaged their mother countries celebrated as heroic figures. Nor will they see them hosted in museums – establishments that fight to keep artefacts for tourism’s sake. Or witness their own people depicted in galleries as slaves, without any recognisable history.
They do not have to come to terms with being ‘otherised’ in almost every way while watching the mainstay of society have a freedom of history that they don’t. They can see their history as subjectively as they like – as entertainment or, in the case of memorials or the beloved poppy, a meaningful necessity to recall. History written and projected by the victorious, that has no enticement for the other as it is meaningless to their immediate lives. Hence, I question how truly ‘great’ Britain is, and how great does Britain want the livelihoods and perceptions of all its people to be? Undoing the social and spiritual disease that is racism is a necessity.
A plethora of black and Asian Brits, who mostly have experienced racism at a micro, macro, and systematic level, exist and combat it
In recent months, the media has leveraged a wayward discussion on whether this country is racist. There is a lack of interconnectivity in this.
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