Posted in Blog

“It’s Because of Their Mental Health Issues” – Labelling and Stigma

This might be a controversial post for some, however it’s a question I often ask myself when I look at the people around me, observing their behaviour and the way they interact with the world around them.

So the question is:

How far can somebody go with using their mental health issues as an excuse for being abusive towards others?

In other words, can you excuse somebody hurting you because they have mental health issues?

The reason I ask is because although I know and through volunteering have met some amazing people with various mental health illnesses and disorders (in fact, these are people who I have come to highly respect), on the other hand I’ve also met and witnessed people who treat others appallingly: Making racist remarks, being homophobic, being verbally abusive, physically assaulting people, committing sexual assault and even murder, and society tends to excuse the behaviour as mental instability.

Last month I was physically assaulted and it was racially motivated. The perpetrator is mentally ill and many people were divided because of that, some excusing the behaviour because of his mental health issues, while others felt that although he suffers from a mental illness there is no excuse for racism. My trauma was also minimised by some because as the perpetrator has schizophrenia he was seen by them as the victim.

What do you think?

Where I volunteer, there’s a member of our team who can be extremely abrupt and rude, even to the service users. At first, especially because I’m protective of the people we look after, my first reaction was to think of him as a dick, however I then wondered if he was perhaps on the spectrum: Because he struggles with communication and becomes very unsettled when there are interruptions to the daily schedule perhaps causing him difficulty in expressing his emotions. However, considering that the people we work with are vulnerable too, does that excuse his rude behaviour towards them?

I come to recognise (through the thankful help of therapy) that I tend to get ahead of myself in making assumptions about a person’s behaviour when actually I have not right to.

This can also be applied to us as a society.

We often excuse criminal behaviour for mental instability. Very often if a white man commits mass murder, society is very quick to label him and assume that he is mentally unstable and in need of help rather than judgement. However, as I’ve mentioned in a previous post, many young black men who have suffered horrendous trauma might commit acts of violence, yet society very rarely shows any understanding or sympathy towards them.

Those of us in the UK remember the incident earlier this year, where a white man verbally abused a black woman whose seat had been allocated next to his and because he didn’t want her to sit next to him, he shouted offensive racially abusive things to her (including calling her a “monkey” and referring to her as “that“), just because he didn’t want a black woman sitting next to him. Many white people who read the story excused the man’s behaviour because he was old and “probably had mental health issues”, but clearly the guy was a dick with no respect for women as well as being obviously racist.

I personally feel that there is a thin line between mental illness and hurting people. I’m not perfect and although my mental illnesses may not as severe as the people I come across while volunteering, I have definitely had moments of spontaneous emotion where I’m not thinking clearly about my actions and hurt people in the process. My personality issues make me extremely impulsive where I act before I’ve even had time to process the thoughts behind it. However, I am extremely remorseful afterwards, sometimes immediately, sometimes a little bit later on, sometimes longer. But I do show remorse which is very much genuine and very much off my own back.

This is important to note.

Last week while volunteering I had a conversation with one of the service users, who while in a fit of rage made some homophobic comments. He had been accused of hitting someone and in the process of saying he wouldn’t hurt anyone, he then said “it’s not like I’m going around beating up f****s“. I told him he couldn’t say what he was saying because it was offensive. He walked away but then a few minutes later came back with his head hung low and apologised; he explained that he was upset and struggling to express his feelings and sometimes when that happens he says things he doesn’t mean, however he had not meant to say what he had and was deeply ashamed. He also has schizophrenia and can struggle to sort through his own thoughts and beliefs. Being a queer woman, I had every right to be upset with him but to me, that was a blip for him; in my opinion he showed genuine remorse and he’s proven himself to be a kind soul. That conversation was actually our first real encounter and it could’ve had a negative impact on how I saw him, but he very quickly proved himself to be a kind-hearted and genuine person.

Unfortunately this isn’t always the case.

I think we really have to be mindful of how we’re using the term mental ill-health, because excusing bad behaviour as a symptom of mental illness only intensifies the stigma surrounding it, penalising the many people who are struggling to be seen as real people as opposed to monsters.

And these are my final thoughts for 2018! I’m going on the short mini-break to Vienna and I’ll be back on 2nd January, so when I’m back I’ll post about my trip as well as my highlights for 2018. Happy New Year to all of my readers and subscribers 💋 your support has been a lifeline for me! See you in 2019!

Posted in Blog

Clearing Out My Inner Circle: Avoiding Racists

I met this person about a month ago who seemed to just latch onto me. It was during a night out so it was fun at the time; we were all drinking and having a good time. This new potential friendship came as a surprise to me because I tend to not hang out with white people if I’m honest and you’ll realise why very soon.

On our way to the tube station at the end of the night, we began to talk about hip hop. The details of how we arrived onto the topic are kinda hazy, but then we moved onto the perceptions of black people and I said how much I hate that people think rappers are just thugs when actually most of them are intelligent poets. I’ll admit that this is an assumption I had myself; growing up my mother told us that rappers were all like Biggie and Tupac, ignorant troublemakers, into drugs and heading towards one destination: death (we all are ofc but I think you know what I mean). Thankfully I realised how wrong this was but admittedly it took growing up and finding my own mind to figure this all out.

Anyway, the person heard what I said but then replied

“well they shouldn’t act like that then. They give black people a bad name just like those in gangs. White people look at those people and assume that all black people are thugs. It’s the same with the Latinos too, all they do is fight and kill each other”.

I was shocked.

Sometimes I feel like white people forget who they are speaking to. I think: If they knew they were talking to a black person they would tread more carefully. However now I’m starting to believe that there are certain people who just don’t give a shit about what they say to you, especially when they’re white. Unfortunately they have the privilege of saying whatever they want without worrying about the context or consequences (just look at Piers Morgan for example). Realistically, it’s common sense and basic understanding of socio-politics to recognise that not all gang members are bad people as I’ve mentioned in a previous post; some get caught up in that life and not because of fucking hip hop; sometimes it’s the only way to survive in this white supremacist society we live in.

The person had also previously told me that they once had a black friend in college (who they conveniently stopped talking to once they left college) and that they had also been a member of the MLK society at their college. Perhaps that was the reason they felt they could say such ignorantly racist things; they’d paid their dues to the black community and played the part of ally for long enough. Now they had a free pass to go all ape-shit.

It gets worse.

During a bad week mentally, in a bid to escape from shit I agreed to meet up with this person again; we met up for drinks but I felt on edge, because I knew that something racist was going to be said at some point of the night. I began to realise that no matter how shit things were at home, drinks with this person really hadn’t been a great idea. Then I was proven right. Within an hour or so, we began talking about intelligence (interesting cocktails talk I know) and the person said that “all Korean people are born smart because it’s in their genes”.

I questioned how they knew this to which the response was “well it’s scientifically proven”.

Me: “so it has nothing to do with culture where it’s encouraged to work hard” (which has also been scientifically proven in many articles analysing the influence of culture on psychology and achieving goals within collectivist societies).

The person refuted this and said that they had read many articles confirming that it was in their genes, “you can’t argue with science” was their counter argument.

Then I replied “well science can’t always be believed. Science also reckons that the reason why black people can run fast is purely because of genes, which is obviously rubbish” (in fact it’s partly to do with work ethic as well as muscle) to which they replied

“well science is never wrong”.

 

I was silent for a moment, to collect my thoughts because I was almost falling off my chair at this point and desperately wanted to walk out. But I knew I couldn’t without first saying one thing: “what you’re saying is incredibly racist, you realise that right?”

Note that I didn’t call them racist.

However the response was “but I’m not racist”.

They went on to say that they were entitled to an opinion.

Yes, yes you are, but not when it’s fucking racist.

I haven’t spoken to that person since, regardless of them having sent me messages after that last time we saw each other and liking pretty much all of my Instagram photos. I can’t be around people like that and I don’t owe them an explanation either.

And this is why I tend to not hang out with white people. Yes my girlfriend is white but I’ve invested A LOT of time in educating her on what racism is, and what it means to be with me as a black woman and what it means for me to be with her as a white woman. It’s fucking exhausting, but she now knows that although she can say a million times that she loves the bones off me, if she doesn’t show respect to me as a black woman then her words mean absolutely nothing, thus she knows that she must take on board things she’s learnt from me as she’s unlearnt the unconscious bias she grew up with; she knows that certain things cannot be said to me or around me if they hurt me or my community. And the fact that she has put in that effort means more than saying the words “I love you” in all honesty.

This person who said this stuff was with the same mouth telling me how awesome I am and calling us bffs. How can we be bffs when this is what you think of me?

My girlfriend is a prime example of a white ally. She’s not shouting about racism and #blacklivesmatter from all of her social media accounts, but she doesn’t tolerate racism either; if she had been with me when that person was talking such shit to me, she would’ve been right by me correcting them.

It blows my mind how some white people can just move mad because they truly believe themselves to be superior to you. Take this woman in the toilets at the Curzon Bloomsbury Cinema. We’d all just come out of the theatre having watched Spike Lee’s BlacKkKlansman which not only preaches on implicit racism, it also ends with a shocking montage on the explicit racism that’s reared it’s head in America, following the election of Trump (and is also very applicable to the current post-Brexit climate in U.K.). I always wonder why certain people watch films like this, particularly Lee’s films because you’re guna get served up tea on a plate. But I guess some people think they can let it go over their heads because they’re not saying the n-word, therefore it just doesn’t apply to them. So this woman came out of the theatre and was in the toilets standing behind the door; I came in and seeing no queue I walked to wait as first in line. I hadn’t seen this woman because she had been behind the door, so when she suddenly emerged I was surprised. She then gave me an obvious dirty look and said to me very slowly and condescendingly like she was talking to a to toddler:

“DON’T. YOU. KNOOOOOOW. HOW. TO. QUEUUUUUUE?”

Of course I know how to fucking queue, I’m not a moron.

My polite British side took a very deep breath and replied calmly “I didn’t see you” then she said “well I didn’t want to get hit by the door”.

I could see the white woman tears welling up in her eyes. I took a few more breaths… and I don’t know if it was the unnecessary tears or the fact that I had yet to receive an apology for her earlier tone but something inside me snapped, so I said: “You’re standing behind the door to not get hit by the door? And then expected me to see you? That’s a really stupid place to stand isn’t it?” Pause. “And yes I do know what a queue is so don’t talk to me like I’m the idiot here”. The shock on her face was a picture and suddenly there were no more tears! (Or an apology for that matter.) But why the fuck was she crying in the first place!

Afterwards, I came out of my cubicle first and when she came out of her’s, although the other sinks were free she approached the one next to me. She asked “how was I supposed to say it then?” I looked at her then replied: “I’m not going to teach you how to speak to people. If at your age you don’t know then that’s your problem” and left.

She was standing in the wrong place, yet was talking down to me because in her mind she’s the one in the right, because her privilege tells her that even when she’s wrong she’s right. She doesn’t need to talk to me like a human being because society doesn’t see me as a human being, so why should she?

Same as the “bff”: she didn’t see me as a human being, so she doesn’t see a need to treat me as such; I’m not human, with feelings and emotions.

These two people are also examples of the type of racism we have to put up with every day. I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve been called the n-word, but I am still dehumanised as a black woman on a daily basis:

  • When you say something you don’t think is racist just because you haven’t said the n-word;
  • When you push me out of the way to get onto a train/bus before me, because you apparently didn’t see me (that actually happened to me over the weekend at the ticket barriers and I pushed the bitch back);
  • When you sit next to me on public transport and elbow me repeatedly because you’re entitled to more space than me;
  • When you tell me that racism isn’t that bad in this country and whatever I’ve experienced is all in my head…

The list goes on, and this post is already long enough; if I carry on going we’ll be here until Christmas.

I can avoid friendships with problematic people but I can’t avoid people in everyday life (I’ve tried). They’re out in the streets, on public transport and are even my neighbours. So what is the solution?

I just have to focus on what I can and cannot change; I can’t change the minds of people who don’t give a shit about me, but what I can focus on, is protecting myself and continuing to ensure that my immediate environment isn’t a toxic one, which is why I will always be ruthless when it comes to who I choose to have in my life and I will never apologise for that.

XOXO

Posted in Blog

Black People, Who Are You Saving?

Since I became “woke”, I try not to use the term to describe myself, but here goes…

 

Since I became woke, I have been doing anything I can to emancipate my people.

Even before, I could never abide injustice, could never stand by and watch somebody be bullied; I’ve put livelihoods and my life on the line for people I love and care for, even if it means that they get the justice that they deserve while I suffer. I’m suffering for it now – I’m a shell of the person that I used to be, just for opening my mouth to speak up against racism and discrimination, not only for myself, but for others too.

 

But this suffering doesn’t deter me; I have my down days, but being more woke has made me more determined to fight for Black rights: dignity, equal opportunities in employment, disability rights, women’s rights, rights to mental health. The latter especially – oh my god – needs to be taken seriously, this country (U.K.) does not take on board the mental and physical impacts of racism. I’m still having nightmares about the racially stimulated psychological torture I went through during my Teacher Training year; I still also struggle with suicide ideation because of these experiences, yet last week after an assessment, I was rejected from Community Mental Health for although being severely mentally unstable, I was simultaneously too high functioning, and therefore unsuitable for their services.

 

Thankfully, as a Black community we’re finally beginning to talk about Black Mental Health, however this is after years of struggle. Some of us grew up with parents who struggled daily with undiagnosed psychiatric conditions, who were either too afraid to ask for help, for fear that their child(ren) would be taken away from them by the state, or like my mother, just prayed and left it to God instead. Which brings be to my next point.

 

Abuse.

 

We, as a community are infamous for covering up abuse; we “leave it to God”, when what we’re really saying is that we do not value our women and children. I read countless headlines about Black celebrities who are going to “pray for R Kelly”. Why? Why aren’t you going to publicly boycott his music and support his victims instead? Radio stations continue to play a known sex offender’s music and venues are continuing to stage his concerts. It’s disgusting. It makes me sick. This predator is making millions and his fans are also showing no signs to disappearing.  

What you are really saying is that you value rapists over our women.

Turning your back on a Black man who is a rapist or abuser or predator, is not saying that you have chosen to side with the White man (enemy).

What you are doing, is showing solidarity to a victim who needs it, while the abuser is finally getting the justice they deserve. Open your fucking eyes.

Terry Crews (Image source)

Terry Crews receives hate from his own kin. Now Terry Crews is a legend:

1200px-Terry_Crews_by_Gage_Skidmore_5

While an NFL Player, he also spoke out about the mistreatment players by some of the doctors and received an incredible backlash because just like Colin Kaepernick, many people in the Black community felt that Crews should kept his mouth shut, taken his cheque and played the game. Now Crews is suffering the same backlash again: Some Black people say that he should’ve kept his mouth closed about his assault. Why? Why are White people allowed to speak up and get so much support from their own, yet we throw our own under the bus? Some Black men are calling him a faggot for allowing the attack to even happen, while some Black women are telling him to keep quiet. Thankfully, there are some kin, like me, who see sense! Who see a man speaking up because he suffered an injustice, but unfortunately even as a man, his voice is incredibly small, very much like Lupita Nyong’o, who was assaulted by Harvey Weinstein, but not only was her story vehemently denied, it was also ignored… and I don’t need to spell out why.

Lupita_Nyong'o_May_2017

Lupita Nyong’o (Image source)

And it is not only celebrities that this is happening to; this happened to me and it’s happening to normal Black men and women every single day.

And I’ve had friends say to me, “well why didn’t you keep quiet?” instead of “don’t worry, I’ve got your back”, or even better: “let me take that baton from you” or EVEN BETTER: “where that bitch at? Ima smash her/him up for you.”. 

As Black people, we’re always looking around for somebody to save us, but I’m not entirely sure who you’re looking for, because as much as I love being an advocate, I’m pretty tired of fucking saving other people’s arses.

I’m tired and I have my own arse to save.

This is a fight that requires EVERYBODY in the Black community.

XOXO  

Posted in Blog, Mental Health

Psychology in the English-Speaking Caribbean, by Tony Ward and Frederick Hickling

Psychology in the English-speaking Caribbean

Tony Ward and Frederick Hickling, (August 2004), Psychology in the English-speaking Caribbean, The Psychologist. Vol 17, No. 8

 

During my research on cultural psychology in my first module of Mental Health Psychology, I stumbled upon the above article, which piqued my interest. As you know, I’ve been looking more and more into my culture – which is unfortunately difficult because St Lucia is a small island. However, this article really struck me, because Jamaica speaks for many in terms of the psychological damage Western imperialism and Colonialism has done to the Caribbean. 

“Surely British society owes a debt to the peoples who were colonised for economic advantage for over 350 years?”

“Sun-drenched beaches fringed by palm trees and turquoise waters, an abundance of rum, a laid-back atmosphere… as the largest of the English- speaking Caribbean islands, Jamaica shapes the view many Europeans have of the region. Few tourists venture far from the resort areas to discover the realities of Caribbean life for the ordinary people. If they did, they would discover a local population struggling to make a living, and areas beset with social problems including drugs and violence. Some 40 years after independence, these societies are still struggling with the legacy of European colonialism. It is within this context that psychology has recently become established, and there is much scope for the discipline to make an impact.

Overcoming the legacy of colonialism
At a time when the British have disowned their empire and schoolchildren are barely aware of this aspect of their country’s history, former colonies are still grappling with the legacy of colonialism. These effects include the virtual annihilation of the indigenous population, the re-population of the region by migration of European settlers, and the forced migration of African slaves. Each European colonial power reshaped the social environment in its own likeness and image, much of which remains in place today. Under British colonialism, the culture of the African majority was suppressed in favour of the minority rulers. The BBC provided the official news, with Sunday worship available at the Church of England in Jamaica. Glissant (1997) wrote passionately about the effect on his home country of Martinique of French cultural dominance, pointing out such anomalies as the local press regularly alerting the population to the first day of spring, in a country where the temperature rarely falls below 30° centigrade. At the end of such domination, populations are left struggling for a sense of identity (see Trimble et al., 2003, for more general discussion of the issue of ethnic and racial identity development).

Coupled to this is the legacy of 300 years of slavery. Whilst modern Europeans may have difficulty seeing why current African Caribbeans should still be affected by the legacy of slavery over 150 years after abolition, it is hard to imagine the effect of constantly knowing that one’s ancestors were forcibly removed from their homeland to work on the plantations of the New World. Most Caribbean people insist that the African retentions of language, religions, and cultural expressions of art drama, dance and music present in everyday life are constant reminders of the major and often traumatic syncretism with European culture.

Most Caribbean people strongly believe that such deep trauma on a people can result in long-lasting psychic upheaval, which must certainly be a question worthy of psychological attention. Such trauma might be evident in the psychological make-up of the individual, for example in feelings of inadequacy and low self-esteem. More obviously, the total dislocation of slavery and its subsequent impact is likely to have disrupted social and family practices. Such disruptions are quite likely to have permeated across several generations, resulting today in dysfunctional families, poor parenting and difficult relations between sexes. Even if the effect were not as dramatic as some suggest, the ongoing legacy of underdevelopment and economic disadvantage is very real and undeniable.

Furthermore, as people of colour, African Caribbeans have had to endure generations of racial prejudice […] Caribbean psychiatrists from Jamaica and Trinidad respectively, Hickling and Hutchinson (1999, 2000), have suggested that these racial identity conflicts in African Caribbean people – when brought into confrontation with European racism – may be a significant cause of the high rates of psychosis that have been reported in African Caribbean migrants to the UK and Holland.

In our opinion, all of these issues affecting post-colonial societies demand a dynamic response from the psychological profession. There are several other immediate concerns for psychology in the English-speaking Caribbean. Crime and violence is escalating, demanding an input from forensic psychology. The continuation of the plantation economy and old management practices, inherited from the colonial legacy and now perpetuated by the present ruling elite, have contributed to economic stagnation. These factors, and the need to adopt the latest technology, suggest a role for occupational psychology. Troubles in schools, an outdated selection system based upon the old English grammar school hierarchy, and families split by parents having to seek work abroad, all point to the need for educational and developmental specialists. A growing HIV/AIDS problem and mushrooming mental health needs further point to the need for health and clinical psychology.”

“Few tourists venture far from the resort areas to discover the realities of Caribbean life for the ordinary people”.

 

 

WEBLINKS:

Jamaican Psychological Society:

www.jps.org.jm Caribbean norms and test development as well as material on ethno-psychology:

www.neuropsychologica.com

References

Crossman, E., Ward,T., Wright, E., Matthies, B. & Hickling, F. (in press).Validation of the Zung Depression Rating Scale for use in Jamaica. West Indies Medical journal.

Fanon, F. (2000). Black skin, white masks. London:Avalon Travel Publications. (Original work published 1956 as Peau noire, masque blanc)

Glissant, E. ( 1997). The poetics of relation. Ann Arbor, Ml: University of Michigan Press.

Hickling, F.W.& Hutchinson,G. (1999).The roast breadfruit psychosis – Disturbed racial identification in African Caribbeans. Psychiatric Bulletin, 23, I -3.

Hickling, F.W.& Hutchinson,G. (2000).Post-colonialism and mental health: Understanding the roast breadfruit. Psychiatric Bulletin, 24,94-95 .

Hickling, F.W. & Matthies, B. (2004).Training clinical psychologists at the University of the West Indies [Letter to the editor]. West Indies Medical Journal, 52(4), 326.

Trimble, J.E., Helms,J.E.& Root, M.PP. (2003). Social and psychological perspectives on ethnic and racial identity. In Bernai, G..Trimble,J.E., Burlew,A.K. & Leong, F.T.L. (Eds.) Handbook of racial and ethnic minority psychology. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Ward.T. (2002, February). Validation and norms of the University of the West Indies cognitive assessment system. Paper presented at the annual conference of the International Neuropsychological Society,Toronto, Canada.

Dr Tony Ward is Head of Psychology at Newman College, Birmingham (previously a senior lecturer at the University of the West Indies). E-mail: a.ward@newman.ac. ilk.

Professor Frederick Hickling is Head of the Section of Psychiatry at the University of the West Indies at Mona, Kingston, Jamaica. E-mail: frederick. hickling@im>imona. edu.jm.

 

Posted in Blog

Fenty Saves the Day

I barely had any sleep last night because:

(a) I was in quite a lot of pain. Epilepsy SUCKS.

(b) I went to bed über late watching a film about a beautiful black lady who ends up dating a psycho with beautiful eyes (The Perfect Guy, 2015), and then I had to wake up über early to buy Bon Iver tickets (so worth it! I can’t believe I’m finally going to see Bon Iver 😍😍😍😍), then go to an African Caribbean Ancestry talk. 

Therefore I looked awful, and decided that I needed to wear makeup. Bring out the Fenty! 


Just a little bit of foundation and eyeliner (the eyeliner isn’t Fenty, it’s Rimmel).

This is the first time I’ve actually worn the makeup since buying it and I bought a whole new brush and sponge set, especially for the occasion. I’m not even a girly girl, but this was pretty fucking exciting. Again, applying the foundation was an incredible moment; as you can see from my first picture, I haven’t applied a lot as you can still see some of my blemishes (I was only going to a talk, I just wanted to add some colour to my face – I looked like a zombie before!), however the coverage is perfect and just enough to make me look fresh and youthful. 

I can’t wait to use it all properly! I’m going to look like a queen! 

Posted in Blog

My Anger (which is not “Black Aggression”)

White people just really don’t get it.

The sense of displacement, the feeling of isolation and anger, to know that my ancestors, my grandparents, my parents and then my sister and I were lied to and white people continue to lie to us. The constant lies and abuse on social media that white people throw at me is unreal, because white supremacy is so insidious that white people in 2017 believe that they are intellectually superior to all Black people, regardless of levels of education.

I’ve also become passionate about the idea of segregation, because the education system, in particular is so psychologically damaging to people of colour.

For example, as a Learning Support Assistant, I learnt and taught students that the slave trade was abolished by Britain. Not true. It was the slaves rioting and striking, which forced the Government into a corner. So don’t you EVER tell a Black person that we owe you our freedom, because it’s not true. 

And Freedom! What Freedom? During the Windrush, you “invited” my grandparents over to Britain as migrants, promising milk, honey and glory after the War – you gave them shit. They couldn’t even afford to return home, so they died here in this country that doesn’t even accept their granddaughter as a British citizen, let alone them.

Why do you even keep calling them migrants? To make you feel less guilty?

In school, I learnt that Africans were complicit in capturing and selling Black people in exchange for gold, guns, tobacco and superiority. Not true. European Traders psychologically manipulated Africans for their own gain, to force them into inferiority and to help the Slave Traders chase and beat their own people into slavery. They even physically mutilated Africans “because it made them smarter”. The Europeans saw tribes of people who were intellectually superior, with their own cultures, religion, languages, education and manipulated them into passivity. African people didn’t need guns and gold. Those are lies that have been written into history books to make them look like greedy savages and feed the narrative that we’ve been trying to shake off ever since.

I was born here and I don’t want to be here, because the “hunters’ continue to glorify themselves. All through my teacher training career, I was never allowed to take credit for my work because privileged white people would take credit or constantly insult me by accusing me of plagarising my work, because a black person couldn’t possibly be so intellectual. I still suffer from the nightmares now – those privileged ghouls just keep popping up in my dreams.

People have no idea of the damage that racism does. Slavery didn’t end in the 19th century. Black people are still subjected to slavery mentally in Britain.  Native Americans have their own education system because America acknowledges the damage they’ve done psychologically. Why can’t we have that?

In my studies in Cultural Psychology, I came across this article: Psychology in the English-speaking Caribbean, which I would definitely recommend for further reading.

What breaks my heart the most, is the disdain that white British people feel – not for the system, but for the feeling of betrayal Black people feel and for us speaking up: “How dare you?” they say. “We freed you, you’re so ungrateful!” they cry. “Oh stop using the race card”, “Stop talking about race”, “I don’t see race / colour, so why do you?” Do you realise these are racial microaggressions? And cannot be dismissed. 

So I went to this “exhibition” this afternoon, in Poplar, for Black History Month marketed as an exhibition for the stories of migrants during the Windrush. This was it:

IMG_20171002_163501

I’m not going to give too much away, as I want to speak to the photographer first, but I was upset. So much so, that I had to sit down to compose myself.

I’ve spoken to my nan about the Windrush and I was looking forward to this, because her story really touched me and I was intrigued to see how others’ compared. I was pissed off that this was it for Black Caribbeans, with a piece of A4 about the photographer and in fact, there was more about the photographer than my people on that piece of paper. But “just some photos on a board” – which is actually how the librarian described it herself when I asked for directions, does not tell a story, nor does it do justice for my grandmother…. But anyway, let me not get into it, until I’ve spoken to her about her intentions.

XOXO