The World Has Not Evolved The Place for You That You Dreamed of

MJ Explains Micro-Aggressions - from the 1950s to 2021 we carve our tables and welcome everyone to join us

Much of my website is about the challenges that black and brown people face in a white world when trying to sit at ‘a’ table that some whites have considered exclusively for them. Here MJ explains to his nephew what his choices are. Marco is fortunate in that he has a choice. Many do not, including me. We do have to at some time negate our beliefs and values just to sit down at the same tables. But when we can, we will make our own tables and leave those behind their doors of shame where they can deny their cacophony of racism We will welcome them warmly, when they are ready to listen to voices that are different to theirs.

The Whole System is Flawed Against Us as Black and Brown People

Lewis Hamilton "I remember the experiences, but I channel those experiences into being the best I can be and overcome whatever obstacles are in front of me."

This is often the story of those that have broken through the glass ceiling. Lewis has broken one of the hardest glass ceilings to break and he has done it with dignity and style. But what about those that didn't, did they just give up? Give up and live to fight a different fight?

Let's also exchange the word 'women' in this speech for those of Black African Heritage and we are game on!

Not to distract from the abhorrent murder of Sarah, but I do believe that the Prime Minister understands the impact of women being and feeling at times marginalised and seeks to address it because of the strong women around him who have experienced inequality. Women are not victims, they are not weaker because they are different to men. However, they are often viewed as victims in need of protection. But let’s consider why people do think they are victims and do need protection. Is it because of what they do or how society treats them that they need protection from? Surely it’s because of the way society responds to their behaviours which may differ from those in the seats of power.

Cue the Japanese Olympic Committee member, Yoshiro Mori, an 83-year-old former prime minister with a record of insensitive and sexist pronouncements, (he feels women have to adjust to his expectations of conduct as opposed to building relationships with a diverse and inclusive voice and behaviours) tried to justify the lack of women at a senior level in the Japanese Olympic Committee by saying women talk too much at meetings and make them run on too long, and which led to 146k people signing a petition about their objections to his remarks and him resigning. It’s the same for black and brown people. We are not victims and do not need protection, but because of the way society often treats us laws are made and policies are written to ‘protect us’ and hence the victimhood mentality is perpetuated. We are not victims and we do not want to be protected. However until that societal shift has happened, there has to be some paving stones out down so we can all walk in the same direction to this place.

If Boris Johnson had black people, including women around him that he respected, like Kemi Badenoch, but with a different narrative to her, then I believe he would stand up and declare that in the UK we need a cultural and societal shift in values, beliefs and behaviours toward black and brown people. Until he feels and sees the impact of inequality on my life and millions like me, he and millions of other whites will do nothing to change.

A Story

Just the other day my daughter-in-law, who is Black African, went to the garage to get her car fixed and not only did they charge her for the cost of using PPE, but also doubled the amount of the service, just because of the colour of her skin. These incidents happen so often, as blacks we often discuss them among ourselves but dismiss them by not reporting them and then ultimately forgetting them.

We need a social and cultural shift in thoughts and behaviours. The recent race disparity report seeks to justify the pausing of any necessary shifts. This report concluded as a nation we are a beacon of change towards black and brown people, inclusive nonetheless. Yet we were compared to other countries whose track record is never anything to be proud of. Just like the UK government do not like being compared to other countries because of their track record in responding to the pandemic because of the differences in recording data and cultural attitudes, we should not compare ourselves to the USA or Ireland or Finland or Denmark, where numbers of blacks and its history are in no way a comparison to the UK's. For example, in Finland (where no official data is kept on ethnicity!!) there are estimated to be just 0.003% of its population believed to be black or brown and given that Finland is likely to keep sound data and have good processes for reporting racism and you have a tiny population of blacks and browns, then it is likely that the percentage of reports of racism is going to be very high - I.e. small population of black people alongside a convergence of the awareness and campaigning of BLM/Covid-19 and living in the Virtual World of high connectivity and inducing an intelligent community. If one act of racism was reported in Finland in 2017 and then 2 were reported in 2019, that's an increase of 100%. I have visited Finland and I saw just one black person the whole time I was in Helsinki. Blacks can be rare in some places in Europe and attention and wariness from others is unnecessary yet constant. These types of comparisons will allow those in power to continue to go on with their business and not change anything and stand around saying, as a recent headteacher I know said, there are no blacks around here that I would employ as they are not educated enough and they are not skilled enough. So nothing will change.

The reality is as blacks and browns, and some whites who understand the narrative of blacks and browns and join the networks, we have made it easy to ignore the larger problem of racism. Racism is alive and kicking, It is so difficult to call out, as I have recorded before, it is so subtle, unless you have eye witnesses you are rarely believed.

A Story

Just over 18 months ago I was racially profiled, attacked in the doorway of the Co-Op store and accused of stealing. The security guard who attacked me let me go after I looked horrified and visibly shaken by the horrific experience. When I complained and asked for the CCTV, the company deliberately bungled the case and lost the CCTV evidence. It wasn't until I broke down on the phone that my experience was acknowledged, but only by the person on the phone. No further action was taken, no acceptance or acknowledgement that I was a victim by the store etc. and no report filed that this was a serious case of racism. The system and the fact that I didn't have the capacity or the energy or the time to follow it up, meant that this very typical case of racism is hidden. If systemic racism didn't exist this incident would never have happened to me or people like me.

The few of us that have broken through the glass ceilings set for us by society, (made up of our teachers, police, neighbours, parents, siblings, service providers, those that pretend to open the doors to us at interviews), have had to do it with the millstone of guilt, humbleness and fear upon our backs. When we look back and see who is coming up behind us, we rarely see black or brown faces. Until the government changes its narrative instead of spending time on researching and writing reports that supports and justifies their inaction to ensure blacks and browns are no longer pitted against, nothing will change.

Possible Solutions

Just demanding that reports on ethnicities for companies of 50+ employees would make people think. Just ensuring that Ofsted challenge LAs, universities and schools in their outcome data, destination data, in house promotion, staff and pupil turnover or mid year or mid degree leaving data, suspension or dismissal, whistle-blowing and redundancy etc. for black and browns will make the shift. These are two quick wins and actions which will definitely change the mindsets of those in power and those responsible for recruitment and retention and outcomes. Let's at least consider them along with all the other suggestions for change in the race report.

In the words of Lewis Hamilton, who has broken among the most difficult ceilings to break, “Change has got to start somewhere, regardless of how hard it is.” It goes both ways, change by both parties – blacks and browns and the government. But that change has at least got to start from a place of ‘determination to change and want to change’ and done with absolute integrity.

Extracts from the report!

"Dr Sewell (key author of the report) wrote: “Put simply we no longer see a Britain where the system is deliberately rigged against ethnic minorities.

“The impediments and disparities do exist, they are varied, and ironically very few of them are directly to do with racism.

“Too often ‘racism’ is the catch-all explanation, and can be simply implicitly accepted rather than explicitly examined.

“The evidence shows that geography, family influence, socio-economic background, culture and religion have more significant impact on life chances than the existence of racism."

"There is a new story about the Caribbean experience which speaks to the slave period not only being about profit and suffering but how culturally African people transformed themselves into a re-modelled African/Britain."

Response to the Race Disparity Report

David Lammy in Conversation with Millions

Written in the recent Race and Disparity report March 31st 2021 - "There is now near universal acceptance that the UK is a multi-ethnic society and people of
immigrant backgrounds can be British." Shocking indictment and realisation, 70 years after James Baldwin said "the place where you live has not evolved a place for you."

Exclusion rates five times higher for black Caribbean pupils in parts of England

24. Mar, 2021

In some local authorities exclusion rates for Black Caribbean children are five times higher than their white peers

In Gloucestershire, 12.4% of all black Caribbean students were given an exclusion in the 2018-19 school year, compared with just 2.4% of white British students.

While fixed-term exclusion rates nationwide for black Caribbean students are 10.4%, compared with 6% of white British students, the Department for Education (DfE) data suggests that in many areas of the country, the racial disparity is far higher than the headline rate.

Fixed-period exclusions are when a pupil is formally suspended from school for a set time, usually up to three days. The DfE says they must be “on disciplinary grounds” but the reasons for exclusion are at teachers’ discretion. The fixed-term rate is the total number of exclusions as a proportion of the headcount, and includes instances where multiple suspensions were given to one student over the course of a year.

But Nicholas Treloar, a researcher at the race equality thinktank Runnymede Trust, said government-imposed targets and the constant pressure from Ofsted to “achieve” were to blame for higher exclusion rates.

“Exclusions essentially criminalise children, and disproportionately impact on the poorest and most vulnerable. Children that, when excluded, do not have the socioeconomic means of buffering against the dangers of being out of school,” he said.

“Research and data has shown that school exclusions have a detrimental impact on all schoolchildren in terms of educational outcomes and attainment levels. With BAME and Gypsy, Roma and Traveller children being disproportionately excluded, this will then have the biggest impact on these already vulnerable groups.”

Longfield said: “We know that excluding a child can make them vulnerable to exploitation and can diminish their life chances. The majority of schools do excellent work supporting children and just 10% of schools are responsible for nearly 90% of exclusions.”

Moran said the figures had highlighted an “incredible injustice” for schoolchildren from an ethnic minority background. “I believe we need a universal code with clear criteria setting out the grounds for exclusions, to prevent any forms of bias and discrimination,” she said. “With coronavirus looking likely to lead to a rise in exclusions, this is more important than ever.”

In Sheffield, which has the second-highest population of Roma children in the country, the Roma exclusion rate was nine times higher than for white students.

One in five pupils from a Roma background in Sheffield schools received at least one exclusion in the 2018-19 school year, compared with less than 3% of white British students, according to DfE data.

In Haringey and Bristol, Roma students were more than 10 times as likely to receive an exclusion, although their headcounts were much lower than in Sheffield, with about 100 students each.

Students from an Irish Traveller background also experienced disproportionately high exclusion rates, though only 11 areas in the country had an Irish Traveller headcount of more than 100.

Esther, the mother of a 13-year-old Gypsy child who was excluded from a school in a Sussex market town, said she felt teachers consistently failed to understand the needs of Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities.

Esther’s son was excluded after he fought with another pupil. She said the incident had occurred after her son had been subjected to months of xenophobic abuse.

“The school knew that he had been called names for months and he ended up retaliating – just like anyone would – but he was the one who got permanently excluded. I battled so hard to try to get them to let him back in, but they wouldn’t,” she said.

Sarah Mann, the director of Friends, Families and Travellers, a charity advocating for the Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities, described the high exclusion rates as devastating.

“They demonstrate the abject failure of local authorities and central government in addressing the staggering inequalities experienced by Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities from the cradle to the grave,” she said.

DfE data shows the national fixed-term inclusions rate has increased every year since 2014-15. Some academy chains have been found to exclude children at very high rates, often using them to enforce “zero tolerance” uniform policies.

Cllr Kaushika Amin, Haringey’s cabinet member for children, education and families, said disproportionality in exclusion rates was on the agenda for every school in the borough, and that the council was committed to addressing BAME inequalities in education.

A spokesperson for Cambridgeshire said: “Our schools’ priority will always be the child’s safety and wellbeing, and as such full support – including additional provision for home education and a forward plan to re-integrate the child back to school – will be provided to the pupil and their family.”

A spokesperson for Gloucestershire county council said the authority was aware of this area of disparity within the school system and was actively working to address it.

“We are encouraged to see that local data for the 2019-20 school year shows the proportion of black Caribbean students facing exclusions has more than halved to 5.1%,” the spokesperson added.

Andrew Jones, the director of education and skills at Sheffield city council, said: “As with many local authorities, there is an all too high number of children being excluded from school. This is something we take very seriously, and consistently and persistently work with our schools to reduce.

“We know that we have a lot more work to do. However, we are working hard to ensure inclusivity and equity are the centre of all that we do to support children in our education system.”

Wokingham and Bristol city council declined to comment.

The DfE said it was investing £10m in new “behaviour hubs” for schools to share best practices on discipline.

A spokesperson for the department added: “Being excluded from school should not mean exclusion from high-quality education, but we will always back headteachers to use exclusions when required as part of creating calm and disciplined classrooms that bring out the best in every pupil.”

24. Apr, 2021

Exclusive: analysis of racial disparities in education system raises concerns over ‘criminalisation of children’
‘I was terrified’: pupils tell of being victimised in UK schools
‘Systemic racism’: teachers speak out about discrimination in UK schools
British schools are institutionally racist. That must change fast
Niamh McIntyre, Nazia Parveen and Tobi Thomas
Exclusion rates for black Caribbean students in English schools are up to six times higher than those of their white peers in some local authorities, Guardian analysis has found, highlighting what experts have called an “incredible injustice” for schoolchildren from minority ethnic backgrounds.

The shocking truth of racism in British schools.
Gypsy, Roma and Traveller children were also excluded at much higher rates, with Roma children nine times more likely to be suspended in some areas. And exclusion rates for mixed-race white and black Caribbean students were more than four times higher than their white peers in several local authorities.

The figures for the 2018-19 academic year were described as extremely concerning by Anne Longfield, the former children’s commissioner for England, while the Liberal Democrat MP Layla Moran, who commissioned House of Commons Library research into racial disparities in school exclusions, called for a “universal code”.

The analysis comes as campaigners and thinktanks warn of school exclusions contributing to the criminalisation of children, while disproportionately affecting those from poorer backgrounds. A recent report by the Institute of Race Relations warned of a “PRU [pupil referral unit] to prison” pipeline for working-class black children.

Figures show that in Cambridgeshire the fixed-term exclusion rate for black Caribbean pupils was more than six times higher than the rate for white British students, while in the London boroughs of Brent, Harrow and Haringey, the rate was more than five times higher. Though Cambridgeshire has a relatively small number of Caribbean students, which partially explains the disparity, Brent, Harrow and Haringey have significant Caribbean populations.

Wokingham reported the largest disparity between white British students and mixed-race white and black Caribbean pupils. The latter group had an exclusion rate of 12.8%, about five times higher than the white British rate.

The interview that Meghan Markle did with Oprah sparked a lot of controversy. It unveiled much racism that was hidden in the depths of many. It has led to career changes and bullets being fired from all angles. Ultimately it upset me and millions like me. Piers sparked this flame. As I have said before, it is not for a white person to tell me whether they witness racism or whether what they say or think is racist, it is for the black community to call that out. What Piers expects should be expected of him. If he expects Meghan and Harry to disclose which of the RF asked those abhorrent racist  questions then he should disclose which of the Royal Family expressed gratitude for his sympathy. He won't - hypocritical journalism or just gas lighting?

The interview that Meghan Markle did with Oprah sparked a lot of controversy. It unveiled much racism that was hidden in the depths of many. It has led to career changes and bullets being fired from all angles. Ultimately it upset me and millions like me. Piers sparked this flame. As I have said before, it is not for a white person to tell me whether they witness racism or whether what they say or think is racist, it is for the black community to call that out. What Piers expects should be expected of him. If he expects Meghan and Harry to disclose which of the RF asked those abhorrent racist questions then he should disclose which of the Royal Family expressed gratitude for his sympathy. He won't - hypocritical journalism or just gas lighting?

Meghan and Harry and That Interview

Hate for someone who is of Black African heritage isn't racism, but denying someone has experienced racism is


Kate: "We see a woman in her prime: stylish, confident and positively radiant, nailing outfit after outfit in the style stakes — and it’s a joy to witness... That old uniform of girlish dresses, tan tights and nude heels has been replaced by dazzling super-chic outfits to satisfy even the most exacting fashionista." Daily Mail: June 16, 2019

Meghan: "Proper royalty is about tradition and duty, self-effacing service and loyalty — year after year after year, season after season... That is not to say that a monarchy cannot or must not move with the times — simply that it has to resist the temptation to be buffeted by passing cultural trends. Fashion is the exact opposite. And as fashion’s most famous bible, Vogue exemplifies the transient nature of the beast." Daily Mail: July 29, 2019

The Danish Are Clever

Danish are clever. The Danes have built a society for losers. They have understood, unlike the Americans or the Brits, that most of us are going to be losers. They've made sure that schools for losers are going to be fantastic, and trains for losers are going to be beautiful, and kindergartens for losers are going to be functional. Alain de Botton used the word ‘loser’ with irony, so to define it as actually all of us, the 99%, are going to be almost fated and in in every area of life we will encounter failure. We are fated to be ordinary and an ordinary life is a good life. He goes on to say to not torture ourselves that the only way to be good enough is to be extraordinary, as this narrative is poison.

What's That Snake in the Grass?

There are basically two kinds of books in the non-fiction section of many societies today. The first kind is books telling you how to make $1,000,000 in an afternoon and the other books are telling you how to cope with what they call low self-esteem and the two are totally related.

If you live in a culture that tells you how to make $1,000,000 in an afternoon you have a massive self-esteem problem. How can you achieve a self-esteem when you will be part of the 99%, not the 1%, that can make $1,000,000 in a life time as most of us are going to have an ordinary life. So why have we been building a world in which an ordinary life is not good enough? This is crazy form of self-torture. We've created a life where an ordinary life is materially more comfortable than it's ever been.

We've put a snake in the grass. We've ruined paradise that that our ancestors have built for us, by telling ourselves that an ordinary life is not good enough. We now believe that t's not good enough just to drive an ordinary car and have an ordinary house and have an ordinary bath once a day and have an ordinary meal. No that's not good enough, you need to be extraordinary and become Mark Zuckerberg, become somebody else. This is a kind of torture that we've imposed ourselves to; we are insane if we keep thinking and planning for an extraordinary life.

An Ordinary Life is a Good Life

Ambition is fantastic. A bit of get up and go is fantastic. We're not in any danger of being unambitious. The danger now is suicide. Alain de Botton goes on to state that we are pretty good at being ambitious. The darkest danger is that we will feel so inadequate in out achievements in relation to the expectations placed upon us that we may choose to end our own lives. This is currently happening in huge numbers. We are suffering from an epidemic of mental health crisis, largely bred by the expectation that our lives will be stellar. When in fact we are far more likely only to be ordinary. Our lack of acceptance of ourselves has made us sick. We don't need any more reminders from General Patton or anyone else to get up and go and be a winner. We know that; that's in our DNA now as modern human beings. We've had that message and it's making us sick.

We need to hear another message and that message is you’re OK. It's OK to be OK. It's OK to fail, it's OK to be ordinary. It's OK not to know what's going on. It's OK to be lost in the universe. Joy is not going to be making $10 million. Joy is going for a drink with a friend. Joy is cooking a meal that turns out OK. Joy is going to be a day at the end of which no one dies or there's been no crisis. Love is not going to be perfection. Love is your hand occasionally held by somebody who understands bits of you, never the whole of you, but that hand has charity towards your darkest moments and the darkest parts of you. This tells you that the life we're going to lead is OK and let that be OK.