“I can walk down the street, and someone will call me a black b******”.
On November 12th, 2018, Humza Yousaf, the Cabinet Secretary for Justice visited Glasgow Clyde College, where he answered some tough questions on race and cultural beliefs.
I was in absolute shock to hear that someone of his ranking faces racism every week. The 33 year old shared with The Clyde Insider that he is used to it, but there is nothing normal, or routine, about the hatred that he endures. Therefore, Mr. Yousaf feels that this is something he needs to take action on, in a personal and political capacity.
It is 153 years since the bloody civil war that tore through America and officially resulted in the abolishment of slavery. While blacks are no longer slaves, are they completely free? In a society where everyone is seen as equal, why would we still need movements such as Black Lives Matter – a global network aimed at ‘building local power and to intervene in violence against black communities’ – in the 21st Century?
In the simplest of terms, Black Lives Matter exists because it is necessary. Because racism resides in the present. It is not a historic lesson that we have learned, but one that we have yet to learn.
One of the biggest problems America faces in a fight against racism, is how they can use profiling in a way that is not racially biased. When reviewing statistics on arrests, it became evident that Blacks, especially women, are more likely to have been unarmed when killed by police than non-blacks. A study taken from Washington University also confirmed that nearly 60% of black woman were unarmed at the time of the interaction.
The ‘say her name’ social movement was launched in 2015 to draw attention to the death of Rekia Boyd, and other unarmed black woman killed during interactions with the police, showing that America has not come to terms with its systemic problems of racial bigotry and injustice. A feeling only made stronger since the election of Donald Trump as its 46th president.
Trump’s rise to presidency was driven by a campaign filled with Islamophobia, xenophobia and misogyny. He continues to cause racial uproar across the country, and across the world.
As a young British Asian living in Scotland, I have had more than my fair share of racial encounters. It is disheartening to know that we still live a society that is so advanced, yet the achievements from Black Leaders, such as Harriet Tubman, or Martin Luther King, seem to have made little impact on the lives of many black communities/ or communities of colour.
So many individuals have lost lives to gain equality over the years, and since the abolishment of slavery, the battle has still not been won.
Our fight for equality continues on…
Racism is rife in our culture. It most definitely exists, and it is everywhere. It exists when a coloured man commits a crime, the same as when a white man does, and our sentencing guidelines should reflect this… always.
When a white man shoots up a school or a nightclub, or drives into a mosque, killing innocent people, he should be identified not as “Unstable”, but as a criminal, blamed for his actions.
When a coloured man, or a man that follows a religion, commits the same act, it is automatically designated as a terrorist attack; Racism exists.
When your aim is to hurt others, to invoke terror, all crimes committed as such are a terrorist attack. So how do we tackle racism? How do eradicate it for good?
For the sake of our future, and for our offspring’s, it is a necessity to teach the future that we should never look at someone and see them as coloured. Or belittle them because of their religious beliefs. When we look at someone, we should see them for who they are, human. Just like me, and just like you. Scotland is filled with different cultures, and what a world it would be if we all could accept the traditions and beliefs of others, instead of telling families to go back home. Scotland is a land for equal opportunities, for everyone, and I am home.
As a society, it is important that we work together, and we tackle racism once and for all. The best thing we can do is to educate ourselves, and to the educate the future so that we can live in a world without colour.