I am black.

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I have few words to describe what is going on in the world right now.

I do not watch the news, so I have seen no images. I don’t need to and I am not a fan of murder or brutality porn.

As a black woman who was born in England in 1974, I was a minority by birth.

I was raised by five sets of white foster parents.

I chose to move to Australia, where I am a minority by choice.

I married a white man and I have children who are mixed-race.

The weight you may be feeling now, I have felt for at least 40 of my 45 years.

Those of us who live as a minority were not shocked by the death of George Floyd, or by the death of Tanya Day here in Australia.

When you live it, you are not shocked.

I am emotionally exhausted and heartbroken.

If you are a person of colour reading this, I know that you have had to hide, soften or polish your story, or have been made to question your lived experiences of racism to make others comfortable. I know because I have had to.

If you are a mother to black sons, I know that you too have had to have the conversation with them about their safety in the world. I know because I have had to.

You may hold me in high regard because of the work that I do, or who you know me to be and yet when I walk into certain places, I am not held in the same regard. When I walk down the street, I am not held in the same regard.

I learnt how to hustle for my worth from the age of five.

This year, I am writing my third book, and that is where I am choosing to share my voice about my experiences of race, gender and power.

I invite you to reach out to your black and brown friends. Check if they are okay. Most of us are not.

IF they want to talk. Listen. That is all you need to do. Ask if there is anything they need right now. And Listen.

It is not their job to make you feel comfortable.

It is not their job to answer your questions.

A few things not to say:

I understand. You don’t.

I can imagine. You can’t.

I can’t believe this is still happening. It is.

We live in the same world, but we walk in very different shoes.

In the meantime, I am sharing some resources with you, so that you have the opportunity to learn.

Books:

Why I no longer talk to White people about race – Reni Eddo-Lodge

Am I black enough for you? – Anita Heiss

The Hate Race – Maxine Beneba Clarke

Novels

Americanah – Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche

The book of Negros – Lawrence Hill

Movies: 

The Australian Dream (every Australian needs to see this film)

The Help

Rabbit Proof Fence

Hidden Figures

12 years a slave (not for children)

Actions:

Donate to:

https://aimementoring.com/about – Australia

https://thelovelandfoundation.org – America

There are of course many other organisations that could use your action. Find them.

And then there is always…

Music:

Change Gonna come – Sam Cooke

Amazing Grace – Liz Wright

Took the children away – Archie Roach

Ngarrindjeri Woman – Ruby Turner

What’s going on – Marvin Gaye

War – Bob Marley

Frisk me down – Katchefire

Wishing you a weekend of listening, learning and loving. xxx

13 Responses

  1. Kemi, your words as always, leave me moved, educated and inspired to listen better, to hear better and do better. Thank you x

  2. Thank you from my heart so much for sharing this … I have been overwhelmed by the state of the world and some anger at the way (it feels to me) so many people of Anglo backgrounds feel like they are overtaking the narrative of what is happening. Thank you 🙏🏽

    1. Hello Evie, one thing I see happening as the world is waking up, is that ‘whitewashing’ the narrative is being called out. The more we all learn about the roles we play and confront the uncomfortable truths, the more change we can create.

  3. Thank you Kemi for so eloquently putting into words what many black people are feeling right now. We are tired. We are hurting. We are frightened. Yet like you said, we are not shocked.

  4. So well said Kemi but still I’m sorry you had to also share your experience, and difficult memories once again to help others who are unaffected – attempt to understand. It’s exhausting. I’m tired too. But I do hope these words of yours are thoughtfully and respectfully read and considered. Even if they just reach a few people to open their hearts or have to commit to furthering their knowledge.
    Big love to you beautiful woman xxxx

    1. Hi Tamara, I am happy to share my experiences it connects us all in some way, our stories. Look after yourself in these times, you and your work are needed. Big love back to you beautiful woman. xxx

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