As you all know, I am the black and fabulous homegirl who writes this blog. And I LOVE absolutely LOVE my melanin. I am proud to be at least 75% dark chocolate.
I am part of the 3/4% of black Afro Caribbean British population that lives currently in the UK and life is different from my white and asian counterparts.
Here are some of the things that I’ve learned being black in the UK
Assumptions, ‘Where are you from?’
- People always assume you are late, you have a lazy work ethic and you can’t swim. However, I can swim and be punctual and have an amazing work ethic so how bout’ dat!
- Once again, living here all my life it still baffles me how people are not satisfied that I come from England. I get asked ‘Where I am from?‘ and when I say ‘Leicester’, they say, no ‘Where are you from, from?’ (Is man a parrot, why are you repeating yourself) I am like LE2 and it still isn’t a sufficient answer for them.
- Being from Jamaica doesn’t mean I know Bob Marley or Usain Bolt, being from Nigeria doesn’t mean I know Wizkid or Davido – You get my drift.
- Jamaican food places usually don’t have the one thing that you want to eat or is isn’t ready yet but it is 2.35pm in the afternoon.
Geography, Languages and Culture
- If you are from anywhere outside the EU, it is seen as an exotic place but they only know a few big countries, e.g. Nigeria, Ghana, Jamaica to name a few. Trust me Leicester is not exotic. We are from all different countries sha. Open your mind or Google Maps.
- People’s Geography is trash, Nigeria and Jamaica are not in the same place.
- It amazes me how people don’t understand that Africa is a CONTINENT not a COUNTRY.
- No, I cannot speak African or Jamaican or Trinidadian or Pidgin. First of all Patois, and second all of all, it has some English words mixed in.
- Just because a song uses the N word init, doesn’t give you automatic permission to use it, let alone in my presence cause you might catch these hands.
- People assume you were in poverty so you came to England to have a better life – maybe that was the case in the 50s and 60s but we’ve been about b. People in England are in poverty, go ask Theresa May about all of that.
Hair and Location
- No, most girls don’t have a lace front, or a frontal or a cheeky weave. It is sometimes box braids, faux locs, natural hair, curly hair, etc.
- Laying edges are very important. My edges cannot look like it has been imported like Narcos.
- We don’t come from Wakanda, I am so sorry to disappoint you.
For The Culture
- Music is life and we have some very talented people in the scene.
- Dressing up as ‘blackface’ to identify with our culture is not cute. Sorry not sorry.
- Not every young guy has a mixtape.
- Not all of us say ‘Free up the mandem’. He got done for attempted murder, hold the M charge my G.
- My hair is not candy floss. People remove your hands from my scalp.
- We are born hustlers which presents itself in every job that we do.
Going Back Home and Representation
- No when I go back home, I do not live in hut, or I see elephants outside my window or I am right next to the beach. I see pigeons holding community group meetings on my roof and more than not a dog is barking.
- People expect a certain type of behaviour from you – We have to be ratchet, or be a good dancer, or be opinionated or be bitter, angry, and vex with the world. Rate me please, you don’t know me like that.
- If we are the only one in a certain environment, we represent all black people like in the workplace. I am not United Nations my G. I can only represent myself and my definition of blackness.
- No I am not looking for a visa or permission to stay in this country, some of us have passports you know.
- No, we don’t ALL know each other or look-alike.
- Mental health Is a stigma that needs to be forgotten. If you need help, get some help.
Family and Lifestyle
- Everyone assumes you have loads of siblings or have a large family. I have one brother and that’s it.
- Yes my Dad is in my life, not all Dad’s run away from families. Some Dad’s are single Dad’s and run their family.
- Everyone assumes you have rhythm but not all of us can dance. #tworightfeet
- Our lives are not all like the Intent 2. We are not that violent. Well some of us are but not all.
- My name isn’t really that hard to pronounce therefore if you can pronounce Arnold Schwarzenegger without catching a breath, you can pronounce my name.
- We are a lot more accepted than before but we still have someway to climb. Best believe, you can belong anywhere you want to legally of course. I am not too sure about the trap though.
These are some things I’ve learned from being Black within the UK. I am British as well as being Black Caribbean too as well as ultimately being African too. (I am a part-time Nigerian sha) What have you learned being black or an ethnic minority in the UK? I love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
Peace until Next Time,
This Girl Can Write, A
PS BHM Fact 2 – The first Black British policewoman was appointed in 1968 joining the Metropolitan Police Force in Croydon. Her me was Sislin Fay Allen!