Tag Archive | "Racism"

American Soliders Assault West Indian

The excerpt below is taken from a London diary. It outlines the treatment of African American soldiers in England during WW2.

American Soliders Assault West Indian

The village hall is large and pleasant, and the Clerk of the Council, who sat at the receipt of custom and kept a fatherly eye on everything, is an efficient and experienced person who knows how to let things get jolly without getting out of hand.The village hall is large and pleasant, and the Clerk of the Council, who sat at the receipt of custom and kept a fatherly eye on everything, is an efficient and experienced person who knows how to let things get jolly without getting out of hand.

We had heard talk of a lot of jitterbug thrills, with the girls flying hilariously over the shoulders of their American partners. Nothing of the sort. It was a really good dance. A couple of hundred couples I suppose.

A few of the girls were in uniform; most of them came from the district, one had seen them in shops or working on the farms. One was conspicuous in a frock that swept the floor; most of them just had on their prettiest light dresses.

At ten o’clock, when the pubs closed, the numbers rapidly increased and the dancing became hotter and more expert. There seemed to me little changing of partners; mostly the boy and the girl, or at least the boys and girls of a single group of friends, stuck together. No one was drunk; everyone seemed to be enjoying it.

There had been, I was told, an unpleasing incident not long ago. The band that night contained a West Indian; the Americans, including these Southerners with the usual phobia, were, of course, contented enough to have the coloured soldier as an entertainer. They are used to that in the United States.

But when the West Indian [sic] took the floor with the wife of one of his colleagues in the band, one of the southern American boys promptly went across the room and struck him.

The band stopped; the players went to the rescue of their colleague, who was conducted out of the ball by a back way, and the show went on as if nothing had happened. But something had happened.

An English soldier, who told me of this incident, was restrained but angry and puzzled. What made these Southern boys behave in this incredibly uncivilised fashion? I told him the story of slavery and liberation, the Ku Klux Klan and about present relations of white and black in the South.

He listened gravely. But obviously nothing could or should change his view of the conduct of these Southern boys, which is a real barrier to the friendship which I could see happily developing between British and Americans.

New Statesman and Nation 19 September 1942;


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Four very British Race Rows..Almost


Race in the Media

Race in the Media

If , like me, you keep an eye on the British media and the way that it reports race, then you will not have let events of December 2011 go unnoticed.

Seasoned observers of the media will recognise that headlines seem to be on a perpetual carousel, every now and again racism rears its ugly head. This December there were four prominent articles regarding racism all at the same time. The way the media handled each one was different let’s take a look.

Firstly, we had the race row that erupted during the football match between Liverpool FC and Manchester United. In this match Mr Patrice Evra said that Mr Luis Suarez racially abused him Mr Suarez denied the claims the press would very quick to side with ever, was this right ? you look at this later .

Then we had the re-trial of the suspects accused of murdering Stephen Lawrence back in 1993 back in football, we had John Terry accused of racially abusing Anton Ferdinand.

Then in the world of politics. Labour MP Diane created a storm amongst voters and political opponents with a very foolish tweet.
The way that the media handled all of these cases was completely different.The reason for writing this post so far after the facts is simplyt to look at the hypocrisy that exists within the British media, and to reflect on how some of us in the British public seemed to just love to go along with it all.

People of colour have been subjected to racism for years, it’s nothing new to us. that doesn’t make it right. However, if we are to remain credible all cries or claims of racism have to be objectively substantiated. If someone cries racism and that accusation results in someone being punished because of that claim, then it is paramount that claim must be true, it must be proven to be true, by the presentation of facts. In the absence of facts, all we have is our memory, our account, however accurate is not evidence or proof.

Presenting our account without facts, should really be completely invalid as evidence in a court or tribunal. Anyone who cries racism when there is no proof of racism, is only making a statement, they are retelling their version of events.

To have someone punished on the basis of a claim of racism without any substantiated evidence seems to me completely bogus. Would you want to be convicted or found guilty of committing a crime when there was no evidence other than an unsubstantiated claim of someone who said that you did something.

Racism in Football

The Evra / Suarez case is particularly unique because none of the other footballers on the pitch heard any racial slur come from Mr Suarez It is my opinion that this counts as one man’s word against another. So many people condemned Suarez before the Official report even came out. When you read the F.A’s report Suarez admits saying the word “Negro” (Neg-ro). I think that it is important to get the use of this word into context. We must be clear that the Spanish use of “Negro” (Neg-ro). The way the Spanish use (Neg-ro) is not the same as the word The British and Americans use the word Negro (knee-Grow).

The crux, in this case basically rests on the fact that Suarez made reference to the other players colour. That is what got him bang to rights, this is what made him guilty, it wasn’t about whether he meant offence, whether the word was offensive in his country or in Britain, but the fact that he made a reference to another players colour. To claim that this was racist is not correct in my opinion, What were his motives, check Luis Suarez’s family history, his own grandfather was black. Maybe you have already made up your mind based on the facts presented by the media. I’d recoment that you read the Report, and then search around the Football Forums and make up your own mind. I enclose a link to the FA’s report:
Terry  V Ferdinand

Terry V Ferdinand

Terry V Ferdinand

Then there was John Terry and Anton Ferdinand. Apparently John Terry, the England Football Captain racially abused Anton Ferdinand of QPR. People posted video footage online claiming it as evidence of abuse. The CPS are taking this allegation seriously, Terry has been charged and will appear at Magistrate’s Court. Yet Prior to the notification by the CPS did you notice little the F.A said about this perhaps it is because John Terry is the England captain. Racism in this case has not been proved yet but it’s surprising how much vitriol Suarez recieved from the press as opposed to Terry. Is it because Suarez is from Uruguay and Terry is English? It certainly seems like double standards to me.

I am of course glad that the F.A is now taking a more robust stance on racism. I remember Everton fans throwing bananas at John Barnes, in the 1980’s, and we have all seen the disgusting treatment England’s black players get when they travel to Eastern Europe. Yet I can’t help thinking that the suarez verdict was a perfect way for the F.A to cock a snook at Sep Blatter’s disgusting dismissal of racism. I only hope that if John Terry is found Gulty, that he will recieve the same treatment as Suarez. Should he be found innocent, he should be supported by the F.A and not thrown to the baying mob.
BBC News – Terry -Ferdinand – Disputed Remarks

Stephen Lawrence Trial

Then we had the conviction of the Accused Gary Dobson and David Norris for the murder of Stephen Lawrence, 17 years ago at the bus stop in Eltham. Finally these two were back in court, again charged with the murder of Stephen Lawrence, this time they were found guilty and the press went to town. Despite their crowing. very little was said about how despicable it is that it took 17 years to bring the killers to justice. At least they are behind bars now, yet it will be interesting to see if the media keep the pressure on the existing suspects because there are still several members of the original accused who are still at large.

Dianne Abbott causes Twitter Storm

If that wasn’t enough news on the Race category, Hackney MP Diane Abbott got herself into a storm over making “racist” comments on twitter she tweeted that “white people love to play divide and rule”, is it just me or was this a stupid tweet? If miss Abbott thinks white people love to play divide and rule she would be sensible to keep such thoughts to herself, given that many of her constituents are White. A politician should not be seen to be discriminating against any racial group. In her defence Miss Abbott said that the tweet was taken out of context, but she is an intelligent woman who holds a degree, and is an experienced a politician. Opposition politicians, the press and the Twitterati called for her head, she was lucky to have survived and to have kept her place in the shadow cabinet. As someone who no longer cares about the political parties in Britain, it is my conclusion that Ms Abbott has damaged her credibility, she is quick to vocally attack racism when ift affects black people, yet seems to think that making sweeping generalisations about the white race can be somehow excused.

When it comes to racism we black people have to be objective. It is no good sticking up for Diane Abbott when she makes stupid mistakes, she shames herself and ridicules the cause of anti racism. It is no good crying “racist” without providing evidence to prove that someone behaved in a racist manner. It’s simply degrades the cause and fight against real racism.

We live in a country where racism is supposedly dead. Yet it is telling indictment upon our society when we read the reason why Neville and Doreen Lawrence buried their son in Jamaica because they were so scared that if they had buried him in England his grave would have been desecrated by those who would glorify the acts of the racists.

As a final though if only the media only taken a stronger stance on racism before the 1990s Stephen Lawrence may still be walking amongst us today. It took his death for the establishment to open one eye.

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Racism: on the pitch but off the agenda

Racism: on the pitch but off the agenda

By Jon Burnett :  Original Article IRR

24 November 2011, 5:00pm

What should we make of recent allegations of racism in football?

Show Racism the Red Card

Show Racism the Red Card

UNTIL recently, the narrative on racism in English football resembled something of a self-congratulatory redemption story. The forms of racist abuse that were explicit in the 1980s – fans throwing bananas at black players, spitting at them when they took a throw-in, making monkey-noises when they received the ball, not ‘counting’ the goals they scored for the national team – were all seen, by and large, as things of the past. Similarly, the racial abuse that footballers had to endure by opposing players (and in some cases team-mates) was generally explained away as a regrettable reminder of a bygone era. ‘Moved on’ was the general perception: football, aside from the odd remark from the odd bad apple, had ‘moved on’.

The question as to exactly how far the game has moved on has been thrown open with the allegations that England captain John Terry racially abused Anton Ferdinand in October and, in November, with the Football Association (FA) charging Liverpool striker Luis Suarez with racially abusing Manchester United defender Patrice Evra. These may be especially high-profile incidents, yet they show a reality in football in which racism is very much a factor in the present.

In the last two months alone five high-profile footballers, Sammy Ameobi, Jay Bothroyd, Frazier Campbell, Anton Ferdinand and James Vaughan, have had racist comments sent to them through twitter; and the former footballer and now ‘Talksport’ pundit Stan Collymore was threatened with violence through the same format for speaking out against racism. On the pitch, Chelsea fans allegedly sang racist chants to Daniel Sturridge, a striker playing for their club, recently. Arsenal supporters chanted ‘it should have been you’ to Tottenham striker Emmanuel Adebayor, referring to an incident last year when he was on a bus with team-mates from Togo and gunmen shot and killed the driver, the media officer and the team’s assistant coach. (Tottenham fans, incidentally, also racially abused him when he was playing for Real Madrid against them earlier this year.) The Blyth Spartans player, Richard Offiong, claimed that another footballer said to him ‘where are your bananas? Show me your passport’ a few weeks ago.[1] And, returning to social media, Worcester City footballer Lee Smith tweeted on Armistice Day that ‘Illegal immigrants’ should f**k off out of are (sic) country … kill um’, before initially defending his comments and saying he was not really serious about inciting murder.[2]

Read full article

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Notting Hill and other stories – Part1

Notting Hill Carnival

Notting Hill Carnival


Time seems to have flown by since August last year when we saw images on our tv screens
of our communities again going up in flames after a Black man had died at the hands of the police.
It was a signal reminder of how quickly our memories dim when all the media outlets started
to howl about how shocked they were about these events and the fact that the people
at some of these locations seemed only interested in divesting
the local shops of their high value stock!

The nervous days that followed, not knowing where this fever would move to next,
is now in the hands of the Riot Communities and Victims Panel to investigate and report.
Led by Heather Rabbatts, this ‘Inquiry’ is looking into the causes and motivations of those
roused to do such ‘anti-social things’ and propose so responses. They spent some quality
time with us in Brixton a couple of weeks ago and have now gone on tour to the other affected areas,
istening diligently and asking poignant questions. But I’m sure that we’ve also forgotten the heart
searching discussion that took place among us,‘will there be a Notting Hill Carnival this year?’After a series
of tense meetings between the police and the organisers, the show went on and main stream newspapers representing the
view of middle England, reported in glowing terms about how thisunique festival had brought some balm to the nations very sore wounds.

They don’t have a sense of the history of carnival in general and Notting Hill Carnival
in particular. Nubian Jak, a ubiquitous heritage organisation emanating from within the
African and Caribbean community, had launched this years Carnival with a ceremony unveiling
two plaques to the matriarchs of carnival in the UK.

Firstly, Claudia Jones, who had inspired her organisation to respond to similarly
traumatic times for Black people, after the first Notting Hill Riots, when the white youth
gangs of the late 1950s, had attacked the newly settling community, that was mainly coming from
the Caribbean at that time, first in Nottingham and then in Notting Hill.

These communities initially responded by keeping a low profile and trying not to provoke a
greater violent response by matching fire with fire. The demographics of the places attacked,
were also characterised by people from quiet rural communities in the eastern
Caribbean. My father and other adult relatives, resident here at the time in Brixton and largely
drawn from Jamaica, reported to me later how their hearts bled as they read the reports in the newspapers
and heard the news on the radioabout the racists mobs,incited by demagogues like Sir Oswald Moseley,
continually laying siege to our fellow ‘West Indians’ nightly, in their homes. These were the experiences
that were forging a pan Caribbean mentality as we knew very little of each other before we arrived in Britain,
apart from when the West Indies beat England at cricket! But our solidarity ignited when we saw what was
happening to people who looked and acted like us for being different, so my father and his cohorts
decided to mobilise. Not for them were quietwords and understated gestures. Most of those people,
because women participated in this fightback, as I’ve seen photographs of a woman with a large machete
standing on the corner of Portobello Road waiting for the mob to arrive, armed themselves with similar
implements and set out to ‘The Grove’ to defend their kith and kin.

It was unsurprising that after a few skirmishes and some telling chops in crucial places,
that weren’t reported in the media, the mob decided that it wasn’t such a good idea to ‘attack the Blacks’.
Unfortunately, there would be one more fatal casualty before things finally petered out. Kelso Cochrane, an
Antiguan carpenter, migrant to Britain, trying to improve his economic circumstances, was attacked by a furtive gang, skulking in the shadows of Golbourne Bridge, while he was coming from home from work, late one evening.This solitary figure was set upon with bicycle chains, cut throat razors,truncheons and boots. He didn’t survive the experience andthe Notting Hill community of all kinds,the wider black community, and all good thinking people mourned and turned out in thousands for his funeral and march to his final resting place at Kensal Rise Cemetery. Unlike Roland Adams and Stephen Lawrence forty years later, no one was even identified for the murder.

Mainstream society finally realised that it had colluded too long with the fascism in its midst,
that it had defeated abroad during the 2nd World War. The Fleet Street media led by the Daily Mirror
and the West Indian Gazette, led by Claudia Jones, pleaded for justice and reconciliation. Claudia,
at an editorial board meeting of her paper, proposed, distilled from her Trinidadians roots,
that a Carnival be held to create a lighter and more convivial mood and to show British society another
side to our culture. This first carnival was held indoors as the organisers were not yet confident
enough to take it to the streets but it was televised to the early tv audience who saw for the first time,
something of what we were about. Institutions such as the Cy Grant nightly current affairs calypso, appeared on
BBC TV and fragments of the multi-cultural society started to emerge.

These indoor Carnivals continued until Claudia’s death five years later, when another immigrant,
this time from Eastern Europe,Rhaune Laslett, who was working as a community worker in the Notting Hill community,
decided with her organisation, that an event was needed to bring together the now burgeoning and diversifying
community of ‘The Grove’.They organised a Notting Hill Festival and invited all and sundry to participate and
the Trinidadian and other eastern Caribbean folk now resident there, brought out their pans and themselves
and turned it into a carnival.

The rest is history hence Nubian Jak’s gesture to honour the two women who had
initiated attempts at community reconciliation and cohesion using carnival as the medium.
Now this backdrop is to remind you of the context and role that carnival has played in the UK from the outset
and that it didn’t just do this last August. Unfortunately the police are not sufficiently au fait with this history
and I attach a People’s Account of events last Bank Holiday Monday, brought together by my old friend, Michael La Rose,(PART 2) chair of the George Padmore Institute and carnival veteran, erstwhile leader of the People’s War carnival band,setting the record straight. The authorities have got to get their heads screwed on the proper way round,if they are not to alienate the good citizens of their own society.
Inquiries, inquiries. Plus ca’ change.

D. Thomas
Devon C Thomas
The Griot


Tomorrow Read the:

experience of carnival spectators, stall holders , masqueraders and bandleaders at this years
Notting Hill Carnival 2011.

They share their accounts of the 6.30 shut down of music on the carnival route by the police,
policing of the event and the governance of Carnival 2011.

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Open the Door for Black Coaches

Open the Door for Black Coaches
Submitted Article by Carla Palmer

Andrew Palmer

Andrew Palmer

There are 92 professional football clubs in the UK and about 25% of the players are black. Despite the fact that the number of black players has continued to rise there are only two black managers. This situation is contributed to by a lack of recognition and opportunities for community, grass roots and youth coaches. Many of these coaches dedicate their time and energies into working with youth from inner city areas that rely on football as a way to stay out of trouble. Many of these are black and desperately in need of role models during their youth and as they progress in the game. “They need people who understand their backgrounds and the issues they face as young black men”. These are the words of coach Andrew Palmer from Nottingham.

Despite having worked successfully with many young people from Nottingham for over 15 years as a coach, scout and mentor Andrew says,  “it is extremely difficult for me to progress within the FA”.  There are not only a lack of opportunities it may seem for black players to progress into top coaching and managerial jobs. It is practically impossible for black coaches who have not been players to secure positions in the boardroom regardless of how much knowledge they have of the game, how many years they have dedicated to coaching or how effective they have been. They have a uniquely valuable connection with their communities and invaluable relationships with the young players they coach, scout and mentor. This it seems is overlooked.

Given his history in youth football in the Midlands a coach like Andrew should be turning down job offers. Despite sending several job applications for positions within the FA he has not even been invited for an interview. He like many others suspects that this has to do with having a face that does not fit. On this Andrew says, “ I don’t know if it’s because I am black or because I haven’t been a professional player and don’t have a reputation in the media or a combination of all of these things”.

Andrews experience and history in football include becoming the first black coach and manager for the Nottingham City Schools Football Association in their 117 year history. He was invited by the Nottingham City Schools Football Association to accompany the Nottingham under 14s team on a trip to Karlsruhe Germany. “We played against two club sides Siemens Football Club and former Bundesliga Champions Karlsruhe SC,” he says. He ran the u13s and has coached all age groups starting from u11s up to the u15s culminating in playing the English Schools Football Association Cup.

Having guided various age groups, won numerous trophies and cup finals every year since 2005 and become the first black manager to lead the team to a cup final at the Nottingham Forest F.C Academy and also at Meadow Lane home of Notts County F.C (oldest football club in the world) Andrew feels he is deserving of more recognition for his hard work and dedication. He is also certain that the future of his career in football lies in finding opportunities outside of the UK.

Andrew is well known to the Nottingham City Schools Football Association. He became a member of the Management Committee, the first black man in 123 year history and by the end of the coming season will be enrolled on the English Schools Football Association’s roll of honour for eight years service as a coach.

He became the first black manager of the Nottinghamshire Football Association Youth u18s in their 100 year history playing against numerous counties all over England in the FA County Youth Championship and FA County Youth Cup.

In the last season Andrew became a member of Nottinghamshire Football Association Representative Youth Committee. In 2005 he became a scout and coach for Leicester City FC and directed the first Development Centre for u9s for them in the city of Nottingham.

Andrew successfully scouted and mentored youngsters who are currently at Leicester City FC, three of whom are scholars at the Academy. Two are currently scholars at Notts County FC one of whom Curtis Thompson made his first team debut against Wolverhampon Wanderers FC and played against Juventus in Turin.   Subsequently Curtis has just signed a professional contract with Notts County FC at 18years of age. On this Andrew proudly says, “I coached Curtis from the age of 12 and selected him to play for the Nottingham side. For four years I took him to Leicester City Academy three times a week for training and to matches playing against the likes of Chelsea, Man United and Scunthorpe. After he wasn’t selected for Leicester for a scholarship I contacted someone from Notts County for him to be signed there so I am very pleased that all my hard work paid off.” Andrew also scouted and mentored three scholars at Burton Albion FC amongst others.

Andrew has had to start his own projects which include developing, establishing and directing  ‘Football For Fun’ for three years where he applied and received funding to co-ordinate and deliver Football camps to children aged seven to 15 from Nottingham and the surrounding area. He also delivered and coached The F.A After Schools Development programme over two years and was a Futsal Coach who developed Nottinghamshire’s first Futsal team from 2008 to 2009. Nottinghamshire Futsal u19s and Nottinghamshire u14s played matches all over England against various counties. The u14s won a trophy at a Midlands Futsal Festival.

As well as coaching Andrew has been a tutor and worked in schools as a Learning Mentor, coach and PE teacher. He set up and coached girls and boys teams for primary schools that played in the Nottingham Schools Football Association Area League. The closest Andrew has come to an award for his achievements, was being nominated for Nottinghamshire Coach of the Year Award in 2005-2006. Andrew feels that there is a desperate need for change and hopes that by sharing his story others will be encouraged to speak out despite the fact that conversations about race make people feel uncomfortable.

On the merits of his CV following one telephone conversation and a few emails Andrew was invited to be Camp Director for Premier Soccer Camps held in Lawrenceville New Jersey and Cornwall on Hudson, New York in July and August of this year. This conformed his feeling that  “taking FA coaching badges in the UK is a waste of time and there are better opportunities elsewhere. America has opened my eyes to the fact that no matter what colour skin you have you are rewarded and given recognition for hard work.” Given the different response to his experience and skills working with young people by those he has met in the US Andrew is certain that the future of his career in football lies in finding opportunities outside of the UK.

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It's not that Black or White…

Mixed Race

Mixed Race

I often think that my mixed heritage gives me a fantastic advantage of speaking about race issues.  A perspective that some times I feel neither Black or White people can truly understand.

Looking in the mirror every day as a child and wondering where my brown features came from was a particularly hard thing to
grapple with but apart from one time in infancy, I don’t ever remember being troubled by my ethnicity.Quite the opposite in fact, I always felt proud of who I am, despite not having much actual detail.
I was born to a White woman in the 1970′s, my Black father has never been a part of my life. I was adopted from Manchester and went to live in the Derbyshire countryside with a loving, childless, working class White couple.

Despite the obvious pitfalls that would follow. My early life was great.

Being one of the only kids with a drop of colour in the area certainly provided it’s challenges. My adoptive parents, who are the only parents I have ever known faced the normal whispering campaign by the village gossips and bigots but on the whole people were supportive of their decision to take in a “coloured” child.

I always had plenty of friends to play with, but there were experiences that revealed the racism engrained in English society
in the Seventies and Eighties.

Racist 80s

Some of the nicknames I had were Choccy, Coony, and Chalky. Seriously, this seems unreal now, but the number of mixed race guys
I have met over the years who were also dubbed “Chalky” after the Jim Davison character “Chalky White”. Although my parents tried their best to protect me from this name calling, there was a limit to what they could do.

At the time I was so woefully ignorant of the true meaning of these slurs. Yet I honestly believe that the kids who called me these names, were too. These were names picked up from the culture of their parents. Comedians such as Jim Davidson and Bernard Manning were popular in those days and “Black Jokes” were part of the “comedy” landscape. I bore it all, until puberty.


I have, like many people suffered racism, and like many mixed race people, I have suffered discrimination at the hands of Black,
White and Asian people. I probably have too many experiences of racism to go into here but indulge me, whilst I present to you a few of the ones that
stick in the mind, for your examination.

  • One School report day, my mum sat me down to discuss my distinctly average grades. Almost every class report said, Philip is intelligent , he refuses to apply himself. My mum told me that one of the Teachers had said to her “Negroes are naturally indolent, they need to be pushed at every turn”.
  • Aged about 12 I was hanging around at the other end of the village and this little kid came up to us and was chatting to us, he let me sit on his bike. I was cycling round and round in circles and suddenly his dad came running out into the garden bare chested. Saw me on the bike and shouted “get off that bike, you Black Bastard”. Naturally, stunned I jumped off the bike, dashed it to the floor and flipped him the bird and shouted “up yours” before sprinting off before retribution was visited.
  • Like so many Black and mixed race kids my ageI had no reason to love the police in the 80′s. Aged 14 I was cycling my Bike through the Village of Bradwell, suddenly a Cop car past me and pulled me over. I faced a barrage of questions such as “Where are you from”, “what’s your name” , “whats your name?…”where are you from?”, “who’s bike is that?”, “where did you buy it?”, “whats your name again?”. After explaining several times who I was, and that I was from the next village, the cop let me go on my way. when I asked him why pulled me up, he told me that a bike fitting the description had been stolen from the area, but I know that was a croc of lies because he never even took the frame number, it was just intimidation , plain and simple.
  • In Junior School I was something of a wimp, but I was turning 11, when something clicked in me. I had decided that I wasn’t going to take racism anymore, because I knew that if I didn’t start standing up for myself, I’d be in trouble when I got to high school. One sunny afternoon I was strolling around the village when I was challenged by another boy, who was in fact, a year younger than me to get off the path. In fact his words were “move Choccy!” , I just laughed and said, “No, you move.” this went on for a few minutes before we resolved to settle this like men at one o’clock on the corner of the street. He went and spread the word, lots of the older kids came down on their bikes, I’m sure they thought he was gonna beat me up, he had a reputation for being a hardnut. That day the worm turned. I battered that kid, in fact he only landed one punch in the whole fight and that was when I was trying to pull my coat off, because I’d gotten too hot from punching him repeatedly. He didn’t know my Dad had taught me a load of boxing moves. That day things largely changed forever. High School was a breeze and I had respect.


Changing 90′s 

When I was around 16/17 I used to go drinking in the Ex-Servicemans Club. It was a Private Members Club and you could be a member at 16. There were these two blokes, who used to go in there who would just sit and abuse me. They were in their mid 20′s and I was just a skinny 17 yr old so the best I could do was give them some verbal back. I have no problem naming these Idiots, because in my eyes they still haven’t paid for the abuse they gave me.

Years later I walked into the George Hotel, and was having a drink when I spotted one of these Idiots sitting in the pool room, he was clearly drunk so I thought I’d have a word. Bear in mind that I was about 24 at this point and I’d filled out considerably, strolled over to him and said “Hello there, Frank”. “oh, hello mate” he said. Well that was it, red rag to a bull time! I started shouting at him, “Don’t you want to call me Nigger, or Coon , or Wog?

“its mate now is it? , I’ve a good mind to smash you all over this place! ” He started protesting his innocence and a few other people intervened. It was totally worth it to see the cowardly reaction he gave though without the backup of his mate Mo.
You see so many of these racists had clearly identified me as being different to them, simply by the colour of my skin, to them I was Black.
Yet conversely, many Black people I have known have sneered at me or frowned upon me for being “too White”.

In the late 90′s I was at University, I had a wide social circle that included people from Norway to Nigeria, Greece to Ghana. When meeting some of the Black guys for the first time they would all greet me with the stereotypical Black handshake which consisted of a hand grasp, then sliding the fingers, then a thumb lock and flick/click of the fingers or a gimme five motion.

The maddening thing was that no two guys ever seemed to do the same shake. they always looked at me with suspicion when I couldn’t do it. You see, that despite being heavily interested in Black politics and left wing movements, I’d had little contact with Black people on the whole.

Years later in Africa, I had no such experience, no African I met in Zimbabwe, Malawi, Zambia or Mozambique greeted me in the same way as the Black guys at Uni. Instead of regarding me with suspicion they treated me like a long lost brother.

Another example of my “Whiteboyness” came at a Jamaican wedding, my first one. I didn’t know any of the dance steps. Everyone else in the room did.. I prayed for the ground to eat me up, I dropped out, my girlfriend at the time was cringing and I can’t remember feeling so alone in a crowd. Even eating the food was an issue. what man doesn’t like “Curry Goat” , but Pigs foot? No, I wasn’t up for eating a pigs foot and again I stood out from the crowd.

Over the years I have received both plaudits and criticism from Black people over the creation of this site my motives for creating it. I have been told I’m “Not Black”. My answer is I’m not White either, and I look Black, and have been treated the same way you have. I have also pointed out that had I been living in America, or Apartheid South Africa, I would have been treated as a Black person. It bought little creedance.

You see the thing with being mixed race in Britain is that you STILL don’t actually fully fit in anywhere. My point of view is, that people of all colours need to know the struggles of peoples of African Descent, before anyone can truly begin to understand that the colour of a persons skin does not wholly define them. It is merely a part of their identity. Culture and experience actually count for much more than a superficial marker like skin colour.

Posted in Black History Month UK, Editors BlogComments (6)

14,000 British professors – just 50 are black


The Guardians Education Correspondent, Jessica Shepherd wrote at the end of May:

Call from leading black academics that an urgent culture change is needed at UK universities as figures reveal just 50 black British professors out of more than 14,000, and the number has barely changed in eight years, according to data from the Higher Education Statistics Agency.

The University of Birmingham was the only University with more than two black British professors, and six out of 133 Universities have more than two black professors from the UK or abroad. The statistics which were gathered, from 2009/10, define black as Black Caribbean or Black African, and do not include professors of South American or Asian backgrounds.

Shepherd writes “Black academics are demanding urgent action and argue that they have to work twice as hard as their white peers and are passed over for promotion”. A study to be published in October found ethnic minorities at UK universities feel “isolated and marginalised”. One wonders how these academics differ to any other minority workers in Britain? I’m sure that any study in any workplace might reveal similar figures.

Emeritus professor at the Institute of Education, University of London, Heidi Mirza, is demanding new legislation to require universities to take a stronger stance on tackling discrimination.

Laws brought in in February 2011 give employers, including universities, the option of hiring someone from an ethnic minority, if they are under-represented in their organisation and are as well-qualified for a post as other candidates. This is known as positive action. Mirza wants the law amended so that universities are compelled to use positive action in recruitment.

Mirza stated that there were too many “soft options” for universities and that there needed to be penalties for those that paid lip-service to the under-representation of minorities. Positive discrimination, where an employer can limit recruitment to someone of a particular race or ethnicity, is illegal.

The HESA figures show black British professors make up just 0.4% of all British professors – 50 out of 14,385.

This is despite the fact that 2.8% of the population of England and Wales is Black African or Black Caribbean, according to the Office for National Statistics. Only 10 of the 50 black British professors are women.

Despite the fact that 0.4% of all professors are black. I feel that someone is overlooking some glaringly obvious facts which distort the information and the context in which it has to be viewed.

The figures reflect professors in post in December 2009. When black professors from overseas were included, the figure rose to 75. This is still 0.4% of all 17,375 professors at UK universities. The six universities with more than two black professors from the UK or overseas include London Metropolitan, Nottingham, and Brunel universities. Some 94.3% of British professors are white, and 3.7% are Asian. Some 1.2% of all academics – not just professors – are black. There are no black vice-chancellors in the UK.

Harry Goulbourne, professor of sociology at London South Bank University, said that while the crude racism of the past had passed, universities were “riddled with passive racism”. He said that, as a black man aspiring to be a professor, he had had to publish twice as many academic papers as his white peers. Stating that he had switched out of the field of politics, as it was not one that promoted minorities. He called for a “cultural shift” inside the most prestigious universities.

Mirza said UK universities were “nepotistic and cliquey”. “It is all about who you know,” she said.

Visiting professor of education at Leeds University, Audrey Osler, described the statistics as “a tragedy”. “Not just for students, but because they show we are clearly losing some very, very able people from British academia.”

Black Students seeking academic posts were also questioned. Many students were seeking academic posts in the United States where they believed the promotion prospects were fairer. Some students that said too little was being done to encourage clever black students to consider academia and that many were put off by the relatively low pay and short contracts.

Nicola Dandridge, of Universities UK – the umbrella group for vice-chancellors also acknowledged the problem. Dandridge, said:

“We recognise that there is a serious issue about lack of black representation among senior staff in universities, though this is not a problem affecting universities alone, but one affecting wider society as a whole.”

A study by the Equality Challenge Unit, which promotes equality in higher education, found universities had “informal practices” when it came to promoting staff and that this may be discriminating against ethnic minorities. Its findings, Which will be published in the Autumn of 2011, are expected to call on universities’ equality and diversity departments to be strengthened.

Mirza said that despite equality committees being aware of the problem, the committees are on the margins of the decision-making.

Nicola Rollock, an academic researcher in race and education at the Institute of Education, University of London, said there needed to be greater understanding of how decisions were made inside universities. Equality departments risked being “an appendage” or a monitoring form for people applying for jobs. “We are still far more comfortable talking about social class than race in universities,” .

Posted in Black Britain, Black History, Black People in Europe, Black Women, Caribbean HistoryComments (2)

Do Racist Attitudes Hinder Mothers of Mixed-Race Children?

mixed race child

mixed race child

ScienceDaily (Apr. 28, 2010) ? Professor Ravinder Barn and Dr Vicki Harman from the Centre for Criminology and Sociology at Royal Holloway, University of London are carrying out research into white mothers of mixed-race children. It is part of a wider study of mixed-race children and young people that has spanned more than two decades.

Parenting as an activity has become the focus for much concern at a policy and academic level, and the experiences of white women mothering mixed-race children is also receiving considerable attention.

Globalisation and migration are playing key roles in determining the social and familial landscape of contemporary western societies. Government statistics in the UK, Canada and the USA point to the increasing racial and cultural heterogeneity and the growth of the mixed-race population. Although many of these families lead relatively trouble-free lives, there is evidence of vulnerability and disadvantage for others in a number of areas including education, health, social care and the criminal justice system.

Read More >> Science Daily – Do Racist Attitudes Hinder Mothers of Mixed-Race Children?

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Race Riots in Liverpool 1919



Race riots in the U.K have occurred for some time in Britain. Some of the first recorded “Race Riots” involving black people took place in Liverpool. Liverpool has a long established black community left over from its former status as a Slave Port.

John Johnson a West Indian was stabbed in the face by 2 Scandinavians in a pub because he refused to give them a cigarette. The news spread quickly and the next evening eight of his friends went to the pub that the Scandinavians used. They threw beer over them and then attacked them with sticks, knives,razors and Iron bars. in the process they knocked a policeman ,who had tried to stop them unconscious.

Five Scandinavians were taken to the hospital but only one was seriously hurt. In an effort to find the perpetrators of the attack the police raided boarding houses used by the black seamen. The black seamen dug in and defended themselves with weapons even a revolver. One policeman was shot in the mouth and another in the neck, a third was slashed in the face and a fourth had his wrist broken.

A Lynch Mob had now formed and Charles Wooten a 24 year old ships fireman ran from one of the raided houses, he was chased by 2 policemen and an angry crowd of between 200 and 300 people who were hurling missiles. The policemen caught him at the edge of the dock and then the lynch mob was upon them they tore Wootton from the police and hurled him into the dock where he was pelted with rocks as he swam… he died in the water and then they dragged the corpse out of the water. No arrests were made.

During the next three days there was mob rule on the streets of Liverpool On the eighth of June 3 west African were stabbed in the street. On the 9th and 10th mobs of well organised young men roamed the streets their numbers were estimated at between 2000 and 10000 savagely attacking and beating any negroe they could find.(Burgess).
A black man who held a good position on one of Liverpool’s liners was dragged from a car robbed of 175 and beaten, as was a black ex serviceman who held three medals for War Service.

On the evening of June 10th in Toxteth Park thousands of people were filling the thoroughfares in a wild state of excitement. Houses that were occupied by black people were being looted one after another, then being set on fire.

There is a feeling of Terror amongst the coloured people of the city, all night long until sunrise, it added ‘black men could be seen in companies hastening along unfrequented thoroughfares to the nearest police station or Ethiopian Associations.

Despite some local newspapers fanning the flames of the troubles it was left to a local magistrate to say that it was these mobs which were making the name of Liverpool an abomination and disgrace to the rest of the country.

(Liverpool Post and Mercury, (7th,11th,19th June 1919) ,
Manchester Guardian (7th, June .)
(Liverpool Echo 10th June)
(11th june Liverpool Courier)
(14th,21st June,Liverpool weekly post )
Racial Riots – Inspector Hugh Burgess

Posted in African History, Black Britain, Black History, Black History Month UK, Black People in Europe, Black Soldiers, Caribbean HistoryComments (3)

Mixed-Race Couple Confronted With Racist Question, Stalked, Then Gunned Down In Arizona

Gunned down for being in love?

Gunned down for being in love?

PHOENIX, AZ — Phoenix police say the gunning down of an interracial couple by a stranger in a local Phoenix park is being investigated as a possible hate crime. A 39-year-old white female was shot to death after being confronted with a racist question about being with her black boyfriend, Jeffrey Wellmaker.

The couple was out for a walk in La Palma Park in Phoenix early Saturday morning when a heavily tattooed man with a shaved head approached them and asked Wellmaker, “What are you doing with that white woman?”

The couple tried to ignore the question and immediately walked away. The gunman followed on foot for a short distance, then got into the passenger seat of a nearby car. The car followed the couple for approximately half a mile before the gunman fired two shots from the passenger window, and the car sped away.

Both the 39-year-old woman and 48-year-old Wellmaker were hit. The woman, who has not yet been identified by police, was transported to the hospital where she died later Saturday. Wellmaker did not sustain serious physical injury.

Phoenix police officer James Holmes says he cannot say for certain that the shooting was a hate crime, “but it does lead us in that direction just because of the fact that the suspect made a comment to the race of both victims,” explaining, “He’s bald. He’s got tattoos. He’s making a comment about a white woman with a black man. One could assume that it might be a hate crime.”

The suspect has not been identified and is described as a white male, about 5’6″, heavily tattooed. The suspect fled the scene in a white four-door car with tinted windows.

Phoenix has experienced racially motivated shootings in the past and is home to a large number of hate groups. Most notably, Balbir Singh Sodhi was shot to death four days after 9/11 because his attackers mistakenly believed he was Arab. In 2003, Avtar Singh Cheira was shot by strangers who yelled, just before shooting him, “Go back to where you came from!”

Source: Huffington Post

Posted in African American History, Black WomenComments (0)