OPINION: How many reviews do we really need?

Author: Lana Crosbie

How many reviews do we need before Black Lives Matter enough? When will we accept the systemic oppression and inequality is not the product of a broken system, very much the opposite. They are the products of a system designed to do exactly what it does.

Absolute power to the status quo, privilege offered to the members of the superior race and class.  The Macpherson report (1999). The Lammy review (2017). NEU Barriers report (2019). The Timpson review (2019). The Fenton review (2020). There have been countless other data gathering exercises, where are we? Where my dad was when he, landed from Jamaica during the Windrush era, that’s where. It could be argued certain narratives are no longer part of acceptable vernacular…..publicly that is! 

No dogs No Blacks No Irish……No n*ggers allowed?

These signs to the white liberals are abhorrent and they rage publicly and privately and have what they believe are meaningful discussions about how disgusting this is. Yet those same individuals, where are your battle scars, do you stand shoulder to shoulder with me through this battle, no, you discuss at home, over diner perhaps, how terrible it all is and go about your day, knowing tomorrow you will do what you have always done. Live your life without judgement or question.

You wont think about where you shop, with whom you speak with that day, you wont worry about your children being stopped and searched. You won’t give a second thought to their experiences at school, why should you, its never been an issue. You have that privilege, I don’t!   When they come home and may say ‘Sarah called me stupid’ you’ll reply, ‘Just ignore it’, or ‘Sticks and stones may break your bones………..Let me tell you words do hurt! They hurt a great deal. Words define who we are, mother, daughter, wife, brother, son……….Black. There are no words to describe the agony that comes with being defined as non grata because you are Black. That pain still exists.  That is the problem.

That is why George Floyd, Rodney King, Breonna Taylor, Trayvon Martin, Stephen Lawrence, Mark Duggan, Shane Bryant, Darren Cumberbatch, Rashan Charles, Edson La Costa……..the list goes on, too extensive to cover. Black Lives Matter because whiteness has stifled our voices for too long, subjugated our existence, created monuments to celebrate a ‘whitewashed’ history. The work starts now, let’s talk about Whiteness not Blackness, lets acknowledge and dismantle the culture and systems that have been built to support Whiteness.

Black Lives matter because, in truth, until Black Lives matters the All lives Matter statement is a lie and as we as Black people have always known….Black lives have not always mattered.

  1. The disproportionate stop and search 
  2. The disproportionate number of children from Black backgrounds experiencing school exclusions/isolations. 
  3. The disproportionate number of Black people the prison population across the globe.  
  4. The disproportionate number of Black children not chosen to be adopted/fostered. 
  5. The disproportionate impact of Covid-19
  6. The disproportionate number of Black people in senior positions. 

Visualizing racism: Nine photographers take on the challenge of ...

These statements are norm, not the exception.  This work requires reflectivity, decentration and a strong challenge to white fragility. The defences will come hard and swift,’ I’m not a racist’ ‘Oh not this again, I don’t need this’. ‘You are the racist’ ‘If you don’t like it, leave’. We know what is to come, White people need to, If they truly want to show they believe Black Lives Matter, formulate a different action. 

We don’t want tears, sympathy, or optical allyship. We need White people to come to terms with their own privilege, acknowledge it, own it and work to actively change the Status quo.

Feel the guilt, the shame, feel uncomfortable with the realisation of change.  When Black people are finally free, then all people will be free, until this happens I will raise my placard, walk the protests, speak my truth in every place I am and say loud and proud Black Lives Matter.


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