One thing we can all do to honour the struggle for racial justice in the US is to interrogate, understand and dismantle the racist structures of our own countries. The UK is the country I was brought up in, the country that I vote in and a country whose own history of systemic racism has shaped those elsewhere - American and British histories of racial oppression are very much intertwined. But it wasn’t until I became a student in an American university and was taught British history from an outsider’s perspective that I really started to understand the racial violence that scars British history. As a child I grew up with a school curriculum that totally glossed over British colonialism and British slavery. And any teaching around black civil rights movements were focussed on the American experience - as @renieddolodge points out in her book, Black History Month in the UK often ends up offering British children timelines of American activists. For me, understanding our past is a crucial part of understanding the injustices and inequalities of our present and remaking our future as a nation. Our school education system is key - the stories the national curriculum tells us about who we are, and the voices it centres, create a blueprint for how we interpret and interact with the world around us. As an adult, I’ve benefited from the work of people like @renieddolodge, David Olusoga, @johnymodern, @afuahirsch @akalamusic, Paul Gilroy, Stuart Hall and many others to help me understand my country’s history. But this learning needs to start much, much earlier if we are to dismantle deep-rooted systems of oppression and injustice. Thank you to all the historians, teachers, activists and students who are paving the way for a truly anti-racist education system.
First image by @rmraffinity, The True Crown. This image is part of I Am Sugar (2018), a series of photographs that respond to Stuart Hall’s 1991 essay, Old and New Ethnicities, in which Hall writes, “I am the sugar in the bottom of the English cup of tea.” The work appeared as part of Get Up, Stand Up Now, @somersethouse in 2018.
Swipe for a guide brilliantly put together by @theblackcurriculum