Reminder: What does it mean to be black in Britain in 2020?

Our Vice President Isabelle Parasram invites you to join her for a free event “What does it mean to be black in Britain in 2020?” on Thursday 22nd October from 7pm-8.30pm.

Christopher Jackson, Professor of Geology at Imperial College and soon to be the first black scientist to jointly present the 2020 Royal Institution Christmas Lectures, will be speaking and answering your questions. He will be joined by Former CEO of the Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust and Co-Founder of The Centre for Inclusive Leadership, Paul Anderson-Walsh, as we ask about their experiences and insights during this Black History Month event.

* Mary Reid is a contributing editor on Lib Dem Voice. She was a councillor in Kingston upon Thames where she is still very active with the local party.

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5 Comments

  • jayne Mansfield 19th Oct '20 - 2:57pm

    I hope that the event is well attended. It is always a concern though, that when one has a self -selected audience, there might be an element of ‘preaching to the converted’. though.

    For me, the most powerful aspect of BLM has been that people of colour who have made successes of their lives are now sharing their very personal experiences of the humiliations that they have endured, and we can see the extra level of courage and determination that they have demonstrated to get there. It is not just the crude racism, but the constant chipping away of feelings of self worth and self esteem they have had to overcome to succeed. All too often, having made a success of their lives despite the racism they have had to overcome, their success is, in my view, erroneously pointed out as evidence that we are not a racist society.

    I hope that sharing their negative experiences and the effect, rather than hiding them from a wider public continues. Exposing one’s vulnerability is never easy, but I would argue that it appeals more to the decency of fellow human beings than statistical data demonstrating discrimination, important though this is, and it is therefore more likely to convince more people that not being a racist personally is not enough. More in needed from us as individuals utilising a bottom up approach..

  • Peter Martin 20th Oct '20 - 12:57pm

    There’s a bit more to race relations in the UK than can be conveyed by such phrases as “people of colour”.

    We should know from our own experience of the Irish question, or the more recent EU immigration, that when different groupings have a problem with each other it isn’t just, or even mainly, about different physically defining features. There’s always a religious, cultural, and national identity aspect to it all.

    There isn’t any easy fix. Removing national borders is one Liberally advocated solution but I can’t see that doing any good in either Ireland, the Former Yugoslav Republic or India/Pakistan/BanglaDesh/SriLanka.

  • jayne mansfield 20th Oct '20 - 1:52pm

    @ Peter,
    When people of colour are abused , humiliated or othered, it is often by people who have no knowledge of the religious, cultural or on many occasions national identity of those they feel free to victimise.

    Skin colour is an immediately visible characteristic that far too many people use as a basis for assumptions that fail to see the person as a unique individual rather than as a social stereotype that can be placed in a defined box. It is a characteristic that fragile personalities or just nasty individuals mark the person out as inferior to be lorded over or discriminated against. It is crude tribalism based on something superficial, and it is clear from social science data which tribe benefits from its continuation in our society.

  • Peter Martin 20th Oct '20 - 3:52pm

    @ Jayne,

    I don’t feel particularly comfortable talking about this because I don’t have any answers. Lib Dems are no different. We’ve just seen a horrific killing in France. You don’t want to talk about that any more than I do.

  • jayne Mansfield 20th Oct '20 - 5:51pm

    @ Peter,
    Fair enough Peter, but I am unsure why a discussion on the lived experiences of people of colour receive at the hands of individuals and institutions is linked to the horrific murder that has just taken place.

    For the record, I am totally opposed to cancel culture, intolerance and the spread of hatred from whatever source. Nevertheless, I do not believe one should hold back from criticism of a different ideology or aspects of ideology and behaviours that harm others.
    Mob rule should never prevail.

    What I will defend to my last breathe is the right to equality of treatment and respect for people of colour who are discriminated against because of an immutable birth characteristic which has nothing to do with their beliefs or behaviour.

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