No one should have to choose which racism they would rather endure

I was having a phone conversation with my 21-year-old son while watching the Williams sisters’ doubles match the other day when our discussion veered towards racism which the Williams sisters have endured over the years.

I mentioned that I didn’t get why the British audience booed Serena during the match. My son said something about the British always supporting the underdogs and maybe they were just rooting for the player that Serena had defeated earlier who was also playing in the doubles.

However, we both agreed that there was an obvious case of hostility towards Serena during a match last year in Wimbledon when Serena defeated British player, Heather Watson. The audience were indeed unruly and very hostile towards Serena and even the commentators expressed their shock. My son said he was quite surprised as British people are not usually very open when they are being racist.

10629642_1500839566828578_601239324720944857_n 549521_10150771147101873_1625903957_n

I observed that yeah, the British people would offer you a cup of tea and if you mistakenly thought that they truly meant it and you accepted, they would make you the cup of tea but would grumble and say all sorts of nasty things while you were out of earshot, and still turn around and serve you the tea with a smile on their face.

To which my son responded-

Mum, I would rather they mumble behind my back than draw a gun to my face and shoot me dead just because I’m black.

At first, I started laughing because of the matter of fact way he said it, and then the impact of his words sank in and my heart broke.

No form of racism is OK.

Neither my son nor any other young black man should have to fear for their lives because of racism.

I shouldn’t have to fear every time my son goes to America to spend time with his father because of the colour of his skin.

I shouldn’t have to fear that my son will experience the kind of racism i have experienced in UK, in the workplace or in the employment market as he waits to graduate with a top class degree in Law later this year.

My heart breaks that racism exist at all and that there might be nothing i can do to protect my brilliant, lovely, handsome sunshine from experiencing this baffling social disorder called racism. As a young black man in UK, he already experiences racism every day.

It breaks my heart that like the pragmatist he is, he just tries to do his best to navigate it.

No one should have to choose which racism they would rather endure.

We shouldn’t have to live with racism in this so called ‘enlightened’ age.

It is not enough for a white person to mumble that they are not racist when we say ‘Black Lives Matter‘. Let your action speak for you.

Do not tell me that as a white person you don’t see colour and expect me to applaud you. You might be colour blind or just blinded by your colour privilege, but I know we live in a society that is not colour blind.

If as a white person, you become very uncomfortable and defensive when the issue of racism comes up, just know that as a black woman, it is not my duty to put you at ease.

As long as we experience racism, we are going to discuss race relations, no matter how much this makes you feel uncomfortable.

We are not only going to discuss race relations; we will do all we can to stamp out racism.

Say No to racism, not just with words but with action.




  1. says

    “If as a white person, you become very uncomfortable and defensive when the issue of racism comes up, just know that as a black woman, it is not my duty to put you at ease.”

    Vey well put. I almost posted a foolish and defensive comment about the crowd noise in the Williams/Watson match not being racist. I’d certainly like to think it wasn’t, but given the amount of racist comments recently in the UK that the Brexit vote seems to have given racists ‘permission’ to express, your perception of it was probably right.

  2. Yemisi Ilesanmi says

    @Paul Durrant- Yes, the Brexit has fortunately or unfortunately exposed a lot of underlying racism, xenophobia and bigotry in UK as many are now embolden to indignantly act out their prejudice, bigotry, xenophobia and racism.

  3. Meggamat says

    Not sure if this is the right place to ask, but it seems as good a place as any; Why is it that UK police manage to be so much less Lethal than American Police?

    -It can’t be the violent crime in the USA, our rate is much higher.

    -It can’t be racism, as not only are we not entirely free of that, but a recent Study indicates that (once officers have made contact, which admittedly does happen more to to black people than white people) black people don’t get shot more often than white people.

    It just occured to me when I was watching the news. Eve accounting for population differences, our Police Service is far less lethal than the American Police Services. (especially strange given our higher population density)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.