We can’t be complacent this Black History Month – there’s more to do

Natalie - Don't be complacent about Black History Month - we have so much more to do

Anti-racism is an active and ongoing pursuit that requires a tremendous amount of energy, strength and resilience (Image: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

We all want to be positive about the future.

On both an individual and societal level, it’s natural to hope that things will just get “better” somehow. This life is overall on a positive path, with everything from our careers to our standard of living improving over the years.

We should have a better life than our parents and our children a better one.

Today marks the start of Black History Month, and every year there’s the inevitable debate about whether or not we still need it as attitudes are said to be changing.

When it comes to racism and inequality, there is a widespread perception that narrow-mindedness and small-mindedness are largely confined to the elderly population.

That these attitudes are shrinking with each succeeding generation Racism is becoming a smaller and smaller problem a remnant of a bygone era until we wake up one morning and find it no longer exists.

That vague sense of “the kids are fine” is a warm and comforting thought, not least because it absolves us of any responsibility to take action against today’s racism.

Instead, we forgive grandparents who use outdated slurs—by shaking our heads and attributing their language to “another generation”—while blindly trusting that today’s high schoolers will never use such language or think in such terms.

I hear wishful thinking like this all the time from friends and colleagues, from Millennials like me, who want to trust in the disruptive power of Gen Z or who have idealized ideas about the world in which their young children will grow up.

But are younger generations automatically less racist than their parents and grandparents? Or is this just a convenient myth for people who lack the ability or drive to change the societal conditions that perpetuate racism?

Let’s look at the facts.

New research from the Black Equity Organization has found that younger generations of black Britons are experiencing it more Racism than older generations.

Researchers found that 52% of 18-34 year olds of African or Caribbean descent believe racism inhibits society and the economy, compared to just a third (33%) of 45-54 year olds.

Still, young people seemed more optimistic despite their experiences.

Meanwhile one An American study – published in The Economist in 2021 – noting that racist attitudes may be on the decline, they also noted that the country was on the decline increasingly concerned about racism.

The Black Lives Matters protests took place in 2020

The Black Lives Matters protests took place in 2020 (Image: Getty)

The report found that “racism is ranked as a more important issue than health care, poverty, crime, the environment or national security.”

On social media, you might associate racism with boomers on Facebook or faceless trolls on Twitter, but Gen Z’s beloved platform, TikTok, isn’t virtuous on that front either.

A 2020 study by London’s Institute for Strategic Dialogue claimed that racism was rampant on TikTok. Of the 1,030 videos analyzed, the researchers concluded that 312 — nearly a third — reinforced white supremacy.

The study said the clips contained support for “white genocide” conspiracy theories and music by white power bands.

It is true that many social inequalities have improved over the past 50 years. The racism experienced by black Brits today may not be as blatant or as common as it was 20, 30 or 40 years ago. However, this is not simply the result of the years passing by.

From increasing the number of black professionals in boardrooms, to introducing laws protecting against Afro hair discrimination, to every tiny step forward that has improved racial equality, pushed back anti-blackness, and opened doors for black people to engage in diverse… moving forward in areas of life. are hard fought.

Anti-racism is an active and ongoing pursuit that requires great energy, strength and resilience and all too often falls on the shoulders of those already burdened by discrimination.

From the civil rights movement of the 1950s and1960’s, to the Black Lives Matter protests of 2020, and from the petitions and legal challenges facing governments and institutions, to the people tirelessly fighting back against microaggressions in their workplace.

Just this week, a banana was thrown onto the pitch as a black footballer celebrated a goal during an international match in Paris. Labor MP Rupa Huq was suspended for saying Kwasi Kwarteng was “superficially black”, for which she has since apologized.

Rupa Huq MP

Labor MP Rupa Huq has been suspended for saying Kwasi Kwarteng is “superficially black”, for which she has since apologized (Image: Richard Gardner/REX/Shutterstock)

Even the advances made after the BLM protests two years ago appear to have met setbacks and regressions.

Awards celebrating black talent have been cancelled, best-selling children’s books written by black authors have been rejected, and white people apparently have They’ve stopped talking about being allies and doing better — you only have to scroll Instagram for five minutes to notice that the black squares and anti-racist infographics of 2020 are all but gone.

Progress and defiance against systemic racism is an arduous process. A process that requires constant commitment and continuous action.

We must not skip steps, we must not turn away from them, and we must not blithely pass the responsibility for change onto a succeeding generation in the hope that they will take the baton.

We need Black History Month because we’re still in the trenches.

We still need dedicated initiatives and focused periods of awareness to keep the fire burning, to keep the momentum going.

This month must be a celebration of Black achievement, an acknowledgment of our historical importance, but also a hopeful exploration of future possibilities. But future generations will only experience less racism if we turn this hope into action.


Black History Month

October marks Black History Month which reflects the achievements, cultures and contributions of black people in Britain and around the world, and educates others about the diverse histories of people of African and Caribbean descent.

For more information on the events and celebrations taking place this year, visit the Black History Month official website.

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Black History Month

October marks Black History Month which reflects the achievements, cultures and contributions of black people in Britain and around the world, and educates others about the diverse histories of people of African and Caribbean descent.

For more information on the events and celebrations taking place this year, visit the Black History Month official website.

https://metro.co.uk/2022/10/01/we-cant-be-complacent-this-black-history-month-theres-more-to-do-17476067/ We can't be complacent this Black History Month - there's more to do

Justin Scacco

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