Your black colleagues are most probably not okay right now

As a migrant black woman living in UK, the events of the past few weeks have left me emotionally drained and mentally exhausted and I can say this is true for my family, my black friends and black colleagues. Many of us are traumatised. Black people all over are distraught by these events, and this includes your black colleagues.

These past few days and weeks, we have seen a black man, George Floyd, being choked to death on camera by a white cop, the very people who are supposed to serve and protect the community. The words “I can’t breathe” send shivers down our spines. It sounds eerily familiar. It is a haunting cry for help and now a rallying cry for justice.

I remember spending the weekend watching videos of white people just being cruel, abusive and derogatory towards black people for no other reason than the colour of their skin.

We were still reeling from the shock of the daylight murder of Ahmaud Arbery who was peacefully jogging on the street when a white man and his son hunted him down and fired shots at him like a wild animal, they killed him and waited by his dead body until the police came. And guess what, the police did not think they had done anything wrong, they went home to celebrate getting rid of another black person in their neighbourhood. It was not until the video of the murder emerged on social media several weeks after that the killers were finally arrested following public outcry.

Just a few weeks ago, Breonna Taylor, a black woman, was shot dead in her own bed by police as she slept. Turned out the police were in the wrong house, the suspect they were looking for was already in police custody. Let that sink in. As a black person, even sleeping peacefully in your own home could still get you murdered by cops.

I have seen video of a white woman calling the cops on a black man in a park while making false allegations against the man. She made sure to emphasise on the phone that the person threatening her life was a black African American. We know what happens when they call cops on black people.

I have watched a white man call the cops on young black men at a residential gym just because they don’t look like they belong there, their skin colours did not fit in the neighbourhood, never mind that they were also renters in the property.

I have watched the video of a white woman call cops on a black woman in the park while making false accusations about her. The sense of entitlement to police black bodies was very evident there.

And let’s not forget the teenager, Trayvon Martin who was murdered on the street by a white vigilante, the boy only had skittles in his pocket. The white man who murdered him said he looked like a demon. His black skin to this racist screamed “Demon”, his black skin screamed “Thug”.

I shed tears when I read the account of Steve Locke, a black professor, who was stopped and searched by cops on the street and treated like a criminal. He was not believed when he said he works at the university few blocks away and just came out to get lunch. They said he looked like a suspect, during the ordeal, he feared for his life, as he should.

All these victims were killed, attacked, dehumanised for one major reason, the colour of their skin. As a black woman, I know any of the victims could have been me. It could have been my son. It could have been my family members, black friends, black colleagues.

I remember walking into the office after a heavy weekend of sadness and anger, thinking, I have to leave that part behind and let it be business as usual in the office. Put on a smile and tell people you had a good weekend because that is what we have learned to do.

However, how do you compartmentalise such pain? It is not as if you can leave your skin colour behind and put on a brand-new identity at work. These issues follow us everywhere; we as black people have just learned over time not to bring that to our workplace especially when it is a white majority workplace. We stand the risk of being labelled the “sensitive aggressive black person” and be told to “get over it”.

Racism kills. It kills us physically. It kills us mentally. It dehumanises our existence. It thrashes our dignity and humanity.

Imagine you were going to work and came across a fatal accident, as a human being, you feel sad. Also, you feel thankful that it wasn’t you or a family member. Now, imagine that the fatal accident was simply due to the colour of the skin of the victim, as a white person, you think, that is sad, you might even think that is bad but you go about your normal duties. However, imagine your black colleagues came across same fatal accident scenario. They feel sad but that is not all, they feel traumatised, devastated and angry. They know the victim could have been them, their black son, black partner, their children, their father, mother, sister, black friends, all because it is targeted at people that look like them. See, we do not feel these racially motivated killings the same way. We know it could definitely be us next. It hits too close to home for black people.

Some might say “but these horrible things only happen in the USA, we are better here in UK”. No, we are not. Most importantly, it is not enough to simply be less racist; the goal is not to be racist at all. We see the way black people are disproportionately stopped and searched on the streets by cops, how black people are disproportionately arrested, how black people die in police custody. We see how black people are portrayed in the media.

In London, Sean Rigg died in police custody in exact same condition as George Floyd. Racism, Racial profiling and police brutality are contributing factors in the deaths of Joy Gardiner, Leon Briggs, Christopher Adler, Rashan Charles, Olaseni Lewis, Stephen Lawrence, Mark Duggan, Dalian Atkinson, Sheku bayoh etc.

As a black person in UK, I have been shouted at in my local shops and on the street to go back home especially following Brexit. I know what it feels like to walk into a store or venue and immediately be made to feel you do not belong there. We have lived this experience; we are living this racist nightmare.

It does not matter whether it is in USA, UK, Germany or China, the ordeal is real and painful. To be judged everyday solely on your skin colour is traumatising. To be deprived of your humanity, dignity, rights and respect because of your race is devastating, infuriating and sad. Being black should not be a death sentence.

To our white colleagues, please know that your black colleagues are not okay right now, acknowledge their pain. Reach out to them, speak out. We have all being watching the news and reading the newspapers, there is no need to pretend we do not know these things are happening. Silence is not the best policy in this case. If we truly want people to be themselves at work, it is important to acknowledge who they are, their total package.

We say Inclusion is not just being invited to a party but also being asked to dance. However, it is not always about the dancing, it is also about sharing the pain. Right now, it does not feel like we live in the same world. I step out from my world and walk into another world every morning I go to work. Yet, I carry with me the trauma, unrecognised, unacknowledged by people who tell me I can be me in my workplace. They tell me that they are serious about Diversity and Inclusion, yet I sit in my corner of the office feeling very isolated in these unfolding global events. How do we feel included when our struggles are not acknowledged or when we are cautious about raising the issues because it could make our white colleagues uncomfortable? Some of us are even afraid to bring up the topic at work for fear of being accused of stirring the pot.

The question is, how can you as a white person be a good ally to your black colleagues?

First you need to sincerely Ask them how they are feeling.

Listen to them, don’t talk over them.

No, it is not the time to tell them you are not racist because you have a black friend or you married a black person. You can do all these and still be very racist.

Educate yourself about race issues. Read about white privilege, structural racism and understand that you as a white person benefits from institutional racism. Pls, do not expect your black colleagues to educate you on racism. We talk enough about this already, it is emotionally draining. We have the talk with our black children, we have the uncomfortable but necessary talk with our black sons to keep them safe. We talk about this on social media, it is exhausting.

Donate to Black Lives Matters groups. Donate to organisations that are committed to combating racism.

Talk about racism with your family and friends. Develop your understanding of the struggles of black people and aim to do better.

Please, do not say you are Colour blind. We live in a world that sees colour. If you do not see my colour, you will not see my struggle. Saying you do not see colour is a cop out. You need to understand that racism is not just an individual thing, it is embedded in the very fabric of our society. We need to do more than sing Kumbaya to disintegrate racism.

It is not enough to be quietly non racist; this is the time to be vocally anti-racist. This is not the time to be silent, this is the time to reach out to your black colleagues and inquire about their wellbeing. Show that you care. Show that they matter.

When we say Black lives matter, pls, do not counter this with All lives matter. Understand that we wouldn’t be saying black lives matter if all lives already matter. White lives have always mattered; we are calling for black lives to matter just as much. As we have been trying to explain to the All Lives matter brigade, if one house was on fire, you wouldn’t insist that the fire fighters spray all the houses on the street, because all houses matter. Your house is not on fire, let’s spray the one on fire. Also, when we raise funds for cancer research, we do not scream All diseases matter. Why do some people think Black Lives matter is a dirty word? If you are one of these who immediately say All Lives matter, you need to take a very deep look at yourself and ask yourself why you are unable to just say Black lives matter. Check your white privilege.

We need to have honest conversations. We should be part of dismantling racism. Let’s do our part. Racism is not going to go away overnight. However, we can chip away at it by doing our part. This can be our legacy when finally, our grandchildren and great grandchildren are truly free from the evils of racism. A better world is possible, it starts with you and me.

London says, “Duck Off, Donald Trump!”

Londoners turned out in their thousands to give Donald Trump the welcome he deserves, a big ass whooping. Tens of thousands of Londoners took to the street in central London to show Donald Trump in very clear terms that he is not welcomed. British humour was creatively on display in the many anti-Trump posters and banners at the march.

So glad I was able to join the beautiful, diverse people of London to protest the visit of the racist, sexist, anti-immigrants, child grabbing, grab them by the pussy Donald Trump. Trump off with your divisive inhumane politics, asshole. When you are the embodiment of racism and so sexist you say shits like “grab women by their pussies”, don’t be surprised when all we want to do is punch your putrid face.

It dd not take long for Trump to upset his host, British Prime Minister, Theresa May. Just after touching down in UK, Donald Trump gave an interview where he criticised his host Brexit deals, and went as far as saying her Former Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson, who just resigned from Theresa May’s cabinet, would make a great prime Minister.

During his visit to Windsor castle to meet the queen, Donald Trump upset Monarchists and non-monarchists alike as he was seen walking ahead of the queen, in what could only be described as rude, arrogant and ill-mannered.

Glasgow and Scotland have also given Donald Trump the middle finger, telling him exactly where to duck off to. The protest posters were hilarious as well as straight to the point. Loch him up, they said.

Enjoy the pictures and videos from the UK Protest.

Evils of Colonialism, Slavery, Racism and Colourism continue to fuel Poverty and Hate

This video of the strained relationship between Haiti and The Dominican Republic broke my heart, and the comments on the video further tore it apart…and I thought I was over human’s inhumanity to human.

The evils of colonialism, slavery, genocide, racism, xenophobia, colourism and capitalism continue to fuel bile, hatred and unhealthy competition for basic human needs such as food, shelter and freedom to human dignity, which no human should have to compete for in this day and age.

The world has enough to provide basic human needs for everyone, however, sadly we live in a world where 1% of the population own such stupendous wealth that could help eradicate poverty if redistributed to build a better world for all, while the remaining 99% scramble for what is left in a bid to make ends meet.

Unrepentant, non-remorseful former colonial powers would rather put their former colonies in debts than pay repatriation for all the economic, political and human rights abuses they committed against these people they terrorised for decades.

The people who are left to pick up the pieces of their lives are expected to somehow have miraculous super powers to fight their way out of poverty caused by centuries of colonialism, slavery, economic and environmental exploitation, which today are still fuelled by racists policies, xenophobia, colourism, corrupt politicians and contempt for anyone they thought of as below them. it is indeed a sad world we live in.

Treating fellow humans like animals, using sticks on them, denying them basic human rights just because you view them as different than you, denying them employment or treating them unfairly because you are in a position of power speaks volumes about the kind of person you are.

What makes us decent human beings is not measured by how well-spoken or how well dressed we are, it is how we treat people who are less privileged than us, especially when no one is watching. It is not just how we treat them but what we truly think of people we consider different from us because of their race, colour, class, nationality, gender or sexual orientation.

As a black woman who live and work in mostly white dominated areas, it is shocking how different one is treated even by those who would never consider themselves racists but whose conscious or subconscious actions towards me reek of pure discrimination and racism.

Humans, we’ve got a long way to go to be truly an equal society, however every step toward that goal matters. Take a step and several more today towards creating a better world for all and that include your neighbours, colleagues and these immigrants you consciously or subconsciously view as beneath you.

Examine and check your White privilege.

Examine and check your class privilege.

Examine and check your gender privilege.

Examine and check your sexual orientation privilege.

Treat people different than you the way you would want aliens to treat you if they ever came and colonised this planet we call home.

 

22 killed, 59 injured in Manchester Terrorist Attack; ISIS claims responsibility.

I slept off yesterday with the breaking news that there was a sort of commotion at Manchester arena where pop singer, Ariana Grande was performing at a concert for her mostly young fans. The reports coming in then appeared to think it was just some malfunctioning wires or exploding speakers at the concert venue. However, I woke up this morning to the news that it was indeed another Terrorist Attack. I quickly called my family in Manchester to make sure they were OK.

The terrorist attack has so far claimed 22 lives, some of them children. 18-year-old sixth form student, Georgina Callender, has been confirmed as the first victim. Also, an eight-year-old girl, Saffie Rose Roussos, was also confirmed dead after becoming separated from her mother and sister. 59 persons are injured and receiving treatment in various hospitals in Manchester.

The police have arrested a 23-year-old man, Salman Abedi, in Manchester in connection with the bombing.

According to Chief constable Ian Hopkins:

We have been treating this as a terrorist incident and we believe that while the attack last night was conducted by one man, the priority is to establish whether he was acting alone or as part of a network.

The attacker, I can confirm, died at the arena. We believe the attacker was carrying an improvised explosive device, which he detonated, causing this atrocity.

Meanwhile, the Islamist State, (ISIS), has claimed responsibility for the attack. Although who knows if they were really responsible, after all, they seem eager to claim responsibility for every carnage these days, just to maintain relevance and strike fear in people.

It is beyond appalling how some people in the name of religion, some other hateful ideology or just out of pure evil, wake up and plan to murder innocent human beings. It is indeed a sad world we live in.

Humans have been killing humans for whatever reasons since time immemorial. Humans killed and enslaved fellow humans for land, colonialism, capitalism, religion and their imaginary skydaddy. It doesn’t look like it will get better any time soon. Maybe it is time we nuked ourselves and hope animals survive to rule the earth, the so called lower animals might just do a better job of it than we have.

Oh well, i guess this is the point where I say and hashtag, We Stand Together or Terrorism will be defeated.  The unfortunate reality is, as long as we have Religion, Humans, Insatiable Greed and Thirst for Power, I do not see how this is possible.

My heart goes to all the victims and the families and friends of the victims. For those who lost loved ones in this senseless attack, may you have the strength and support to get through this very difficult time. For those fighting for their lives in the hospitals, here is hoping you pull through and come out soon, as good as new.

I wish I could go far, far, far away from this planet, I have thought about it a lot lately but looks like I’m not only firmly anchored but stuck to this beautiful, life sustaining planet, condemned to live and interact with its many sadistic humans.

However, I know amidst every calamities and carnage caused by horrible human beings, there are lovely people helping out to make life just a little bit easier for the victims. The evils our fellow humans do sometimes bring out the best in us as humans as we go all out to provide help and safety for these affected. Here is hoping our humanity last longer than just when we are confronted and shocked by our fellow humans’ capacity for evil.

Let’s continue to do our best to make this world a better place. Most importantly, do your part to make religion a thing of the past. The world does not need more people who believe in Santa Claus, a blue eyed blonde Saviour called Jesus, a bearded paedophile prophet called Mohammed, or silly beliefs in a God given land, miracle wall, divine river, or an imaginary Skydaddy who intelligently designed the universe and now spend his time preparing a burning hell for those who do not believe in him, and 72 virgins for those who die as martyrs to glorify his name.

The world does not need more deluded beliefs. Do not pass your religious delusions to the next generation.

Let’s fully embrace education. Embrace intelligence. Embrace knowledge. Above all, teach, spread and practice love.

I heard with Love, all things are possible. Let’s give it a try and hope that it is not just another delusion sold to us. Peace!

 

The First Time I Realised I was Black

I didn’t know I was black until I relocated to the UK in 2009 at the ripe old age of 34, before then, I thought I was just a human being.

Settling down in the UK, I quickly realised my skin colour mattered. It matters a lot.

I relocated to the UK in 2009 to study for my Post graduate degree in Law, specialising in Gender, Sexuality and Human rights.  Even though I had contemplated my gender, sexuality, globalisation and the catastrophic effects of unbridled capitalism, I had not given my skin colour much thought.

From the overt racism, which I encountered from the University Surgery GP, the subtle racism of some of my white lecturers (who ironically taught equality classes), the white co-workers who turned their noses up at my African accent, to the ‘behind the back’ racist stab by the white, female principal officer in my workplace, which cost me a much needed, very good job offer, I quickly realised that my skin colour mattered. [Read more…]

Donald Trump’s America: A Win for Sexism, Racism and Misogyny

Today is undoubtedly one of the saddest days of my life, and I am not even American. I might not be American or even live in America, however, I am human and Donald Trump is the very embodiment of everything I stand against.

Every vote for Donald Trump was a vote for Sexism, Racism, Xenophobia, Misogyny, Bullying, Sexual Assault, Bigotry, Tyranny and every other thing appalling.

A win for Donald Trump was a rude awakening that majority of Americans would rather see a very horrible, inept man lead the country than a very capable, humane woman.

A win for Donald Trump is a reminder that so many Americans are not as appalled by sexism, racism, xenophobia, bullying, sexual harassment as any decent person would be. [Read more…]

Celebrating My Uncelebrated Nigerian Award!

On Saturday Sep 24th, 2016, the Nigerian community in UK organised an award dinner ceremony to honour 56 uncelebrated Nigerians in five different categories as part of Nigeria’s 56th independence anniversary.

I was proud to be nominated for the award and was really honoured to receive the Uncelebrated Nigerians Award for contribution to Legal, Security & Law enforcement.

unaawards268-l

In my acceptance speech, i dedicated the award to Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals, Transsexuals and Queers in Nigeria and diaspora. Every Nigerian deserves to be free from discrimination regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity. LGBT Rights are Human Rights. [Read more…]

France under terrorist attack again; 80 dead and counting.

A lorry driver intentionally ploughed through a crowd in Nice, France during the Bastille celebration.  Accordingfrance to news reports, the driver deliberately crashed into people and emerged, shooting sporadically. There were reports of guns and grenades inside the lorry.  Also, identity papers of French-Tunisian were said to be found in the lorry.

According to various news reports, the death toll has reached 77 and rising. Many of the victims were children.

The murderer was shot dead by police officers.

This is beyond appalling. I am lost for words to describe these senseless killings. [Read more…]

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. [Read more…]

5 Reasons Why We Still Celebrate Pride: London Pride 2016.

It was London pride 2016 on Saturday 25, June 2016. As usual, the annual LGBT Pride celebration 20160625_165734meant the streets of central London felt the colourful presence of LGBT Londoners and their allies.  Marching from Baker street, Regent street, Oxford street and well, Cockspurs street, all the way to Trafalgar square, the colourful parade brightened up the streets of London. Rainbow flags, beautiful floats, creative costumes, the energetic marchers and the large appreciative supporters who turned out en masse to cheer the parade along, all made for one very beautiful London Pride, 2016. And of course what would London Pride be without the very creative and beautiful drag queens? They were fabulous as always! They slayed in their beautiful costumes and creative makeups. The crowd were eager to take pictures with those divas.  And oh, there was even a sweet moment when a police man in the parade went on his knees to propose to his boyfriend!

This year’s Pride theme was NO FILTER. It encourages LGBTs to live life without filters. Just be you. There was a huge turnout. According to London Pride, an estimated 1 million people took part in the Pride and about 40,000 people marched in the parade, the largest so far in London Pride history.

The homophobic killings in Orlando was a rude and appalling reminder that homophobia is still very much alive [Read more…]

Planned Parenthood Clinic Shooting: Religious Assholes, Vile Politicians and Dipshit Media

In between the religions assholes causing havoc and the vile politicians eager to drop bombs on civilians, it is a CU5oEefUYAAkYmHwonder WW3 has not been officially declared!

I was out when I briefly saw the headlines for the Colorado shooting today; apparently, three people, including a police officer, have been confirmed dead and many more injured.

The shooter, now identified as Robert Lewis Dear, is a 57-year-old white man from North Carolina.

According to reports

“Lt. Catherine Buckley of the Colorado Springs Police Department said the gunman, described as wearing a long coat and armed with a rifle, gave up after officers inside the building shouted at him. He previously had been firing at police who entered the facility.

Buckley also said the unidentified man had brought “items” with him inside the building and left some outside, meaning officers had to make sure they were not “any kind of devices.”

“The man apparently began his deadly spree at the Planned Parenthood building, although it was not clear if his motive was related to the organization.

“We don’t have any information on this individual’s mentality, or his ideas or ideology,” Buckley said.

Interesting how they are not eager to jump to conclusions about this shooter’s ideas and ideology. This is white cis [Read more…]

My Birthday Dance and Musings: Already Loving my 40s!

I am grateful for four amazing decades on planet earth. I am eagerly looking forward to new challenges and more20150816_141924 resised ftb jpg amazing experiences in the coming years!

I am especially looking forward to starting a new job as a union organiser with one of the largest trade unions in UK. I missed being a full time trade unionist and I am so looking forward to working with union activists and organising workers again!

I started working for the labour movement in my early twenties and with the responsibility of fighting for workers’ rights came many opportunities to see the world from different angles. The views can be very depressing especially when it comes to class stratification, oppression, exploitation of labour, crass capitalism and its uneven division of wealth built on the backs of the long-suffering majority who toil every day to earn a living wage but never get to enjoy the wealth created by their labour. However, sometimes the view can be very exhilarating, especially when the voiceless find their voices through union organising, and against all odds, conquer to achieve great successes, fuelled by strength in unity and propelled by hope in a better tomorrow, while demanding for a better today. The last few years of my 30s were pretty challenging, mostly due to having to start afresh in a new, unfamiliar environment as a single parent with a teenage son who was about to enrol in college. I did not plan to be an immigrant in UK or anywhere else, but sometimes, even though we have our life already neatly planned, circumstances beyond our control could force us to depart from our schedule.

Leaving behind a comfortable life and job security to start afresh in a strange land was not an easy decision to make. [Read more…]

Serena Williams: Racism, Sexism and the Champion

Serena Williams gave us another ‪‎Serenaslam. She is unarguably one of the greatest of all times. At 33, when most men and women champions are catching their retirement cheques, Serena Williams is saying ‘You aint seen anything yet!’ Serena Williams is at her best ever and she is here to stay. What an inspirational athlete!

CJpJm9dWwAAiZCz

The Williams sisters not only changed the face of Tennis, they took it to a higher level. In a game where racism still unashamedly rears its ugly head, where sexism and beauty stereotypes mean the best athlete who happens to be black, gets less endorsement deals than the white blonde she has dominated for years, one cannot but admire the determination of the Williams sisters to excel in their game. Their many victories are inspirational and legendary.

We cannot ignore the racism the Williams sisters have faced over the years in a game that is predominantly white and traditionally elitist. [Read more…]

On the ban of UKIP LGBT from London Pride

London Pride is an event I eagerly look forward to since I started residing in UK. For me, it represents freedom, a 10270791_910936968932361_6130231271874203855_nsafe place to make a loud political statement and have fun with LGBT families and allies.

Therefore, it was a shock when I checked the London Parade list for 27 June, 2015 and saw UKIP LGBT staring right back at me.  The UK Independence Party (UKIP) is widely known for its homophobia, biphobia, transphobia, xenophobia and blatant racism.  I was aghast that UKIP LGBT is going to be in that ‘safe and fun’ pride parade.

Considering how vocal UKIP leaders and members have been about condemning LGBT rights and [Read more…]

The curious case of Rachel Dolezal

When Rachel Dolezal was outed as a Caucasian woman in blackface, the story almost broke the internet. Several daystumblr_inline_npu43mC6mM1qfb043_500 later, we are still trying to put the pieces together. So far, the story has served as a platform to discuss racism and cultural appropriation. However, it has also served as a platform for transphobes to pontificate on gender and redefine transracial.

Rachel Dolezal, 37 year old part-time professor in the Africana studies program at Eastern Washington University, was outed by her Caucasian parents, Lawrence and Ruthanne Dolezal, as a white woman pretending to be black. Following the social media attention, Rachel Dolezal handed in her resignation as president of the Spokane, Washington chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People (NAACP). She tendered her resignation without any sign of remorse, later followed by an exclusive live interview with NBC News where she insisted-

I definitely am not white, I’m more black than I am white. That’s the accurate answer from my truth.

Rachel seems to think her chosen truth trumps facts. You can choose your truth but you can’t choose your facts. She seems to have a history of choosing her truths with total disregard for facts.

On several occasions, Rachel Dolezal has claimed to be the victim of hate crimes. However, Investigators have not been able to find evidence to substantiate her claims. In fact, it was an effort to connect the dots in her latest hate [Read more…]