EDUCATING ABOUT RACISM: OUR JOB OR NOT?
The uprising of the Black Lives Matter movement in wake of the death of George Floyd started protests and most importantly, conversations on what needs to happen in order for racial injustice to stop occurring and for black people to be treated as equal. An ongoing topic I see all over social media in regards to this is the topic of educating our white counterparts about racism and why it’s wrong.
For most of us, we know that racism is wrong. We know that judging someone by the colour of their skin is wrong. However, as we continue to see in our daily lives, there are a lot of people who for whatever reason have been taught that judging someone by the colour of their skin is the right thing to do and in accordance with that, to treat people with certain skin tones in a certain way.
It’s clear that these people do need to be taught that what they have been taught is wrong, but is that for us as black people to do? Or is it something that we should leave to these people to do for themselves?
Sayce Holmes-Lewis, the Co-founder of Mentivity, a black owned service that supports young people through sports, education and much more, took matters into his own hands following an incident where he was unfairly stopped and search by the Metropolitan Police. In an area such as London especially, that is very diverse and multi-cultural and with the current climate of racism that we're living in, it's no surprise that Holmes-Lewis was yet another victim of an unfair and unjust stop and search. Below is data that shows the Stop & Search rate per 1000 people by ethnicity and the results are unsurprising:
Holmes-Lewis, in the video which he took whilst being searched, vowed to have a sit-down conversation with the Metropolitan Police and educate them on how to approach not just young black kids, but also black people in general.
ITV covered parts of this first of what will hopefully be many sit downs between Holmes-Lewis and the Metropolitan Police and from what we can see in video, the conversation had seemed to be very productive.
I have personally always been in favour of educating our white counterparts on racism and seeing the conversation that Holmes-Lewis was having with the police was really encouraging and I believe that more conversations like this need to be had, not just with the police, but with as many people as possible especially if we want change.
These conversations will be difficult and they will be awkward and they may even cause a bit of friction. Not everyone will be receptive and open to these kinds of conversations simply because they are too stuck in their ways, but the more people we are able to educate, the more people we are able to have these type of productive conversations with and the more people we can finally get to understand why the racist mentality they’ve been taught is so wrong, the closer we can get to providing the next generation and even potentially ourselves with a life that is free of racial injustice and a life where black people are treated as equals as we very well should be.
Be sure to check out & support Sayce Holmes-Lewis and ‘Mentivity’ by clicking the link below:
Written by Lore Adekeye (twitter: @loreadekeye, IG: @shemz_nl).