Each time we witness a black brother or sister being killed, the cycle of social media reignites. In a week outrage breaks, the crime is denounced, there are endless shares, shock is renewed, but then a few days later, it’s back to selfies, sun and smoothies. However this time, the all world saw the horrifying image of George Floyd dying, on the stone-cold gravel in broad daylight pleading for his last breath. That scene is stuck in people’s mind and grasped media attention in a way I had never seen before. From that, I, like many others, witnessed the transformation of the timeline, from outfits and food to a platform of education.
Black lives are now mattering once again, not because of a trending passing hashtag, but because this heinous act of murder evoked people’s minds to the brutal injustice and made them realise that society is not as pretty as the standard timeline may show.
Although there has been newfound attention for equality, this has to go beyond hashtags and empty words, people need to understand what has caused the inequalities in our society, and from that, strive to fight for the change that we so desperately need to see. As Rihanna said in her speech at the NAACP awards, ‘we can only fix this world together’, and that begins with the process of learning. To fix what is broken requires decolonising the mind. Education is the first key to do such thing. I must admit with sorrow that this process of learning is not going to be found within the walls of our schools and further education institutions. The British education system does not give the full picture as it fails to tread through murky waters.
The truth is that the Conservative government has long been a participant of prejudice, with its bigoted discourse pushed within our communities, from the neglect of the Windrush generation, to Theresa May’s ‘Hostile Environment’ that sought to deter immigration rather than encourage it. There needs to be an understanding that the police system has been an oppressive force rather than one that looks to protect, with statistics such as black people being disproportionately stopped and searched more than white people in every police force.
By learning about the oppressions that black people have faced since our ancestors were brought from the Motherland on slave ships, transcending to the present time as we see the new immigration bill making its way through Parliament during this crisis, we expose the bitter truths and then justice will follow suit.
Black people have spoken out about the injustices for far too long on their own, so to gain allies is a warming thing, it’s about damn time. We are tired of seeing our people die, we are tired of the system that is keeping us behind, and frankly, we’re tired of being tired. To break beyond the surface, you have to delve deeper, education doesn’t come from social media, but from reading books and articles, listening to podcasts, watching videos, speaking to black people and listening to their experiences. Let’s not deny it; you’re going to have to be comfortable seeking out the realities of black British history; you are going to have to become comfortable with becoming uncomfortable. Truth hurts, but it will open your eyes. Education should go beyond an Instagram post and a tweet, it’s a constant process. If this coronavirus crisis has taught us anything is that we cannot go back to the normality of oppressive structures, and at this moment we are seeing the beginning of a revolution - let’s use it to learn.
Written by Chloe Sanyu
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