Why You Should See Colour

Posted: June 11, 2020 in Uncategorized

A lot of people have said ‘I don’t see colour’. Unfortunately, that could be received negatively too. Whilst the N-word is a verbal assault, it’s an attack you can defend. That’s life; fight or flight.

To say ‘I don’t see colour’ could be perceived as ‘I don’t see you’. Yep, this culture business is a damned minefield 🤦🏾‍♂️ 🤣.

However, if you spent £150 on having your hair highlighted, or your nails painted, or decorated your living room or changed your contacts. You’d be slightly aggrieved if someone said ‘I don’t see colour, I just see…’

Kids really get it, they don’t get confused by the rules at all.

For those with kids, who don’t see any difference between them and their of colour friends; it isn’t that they don’t see it – it’s that they don’t see it as something that makes the other child different. They don’t care (yet).

We all drew ourselves at school – right?. Your kids will do it too. If you’ve kept all of the pictures in a scrap book you’ll see the moment your child realised skin tones aren’t all the same.

The moment they stopped drawing themselves with a blue or Simpson’s yellow face. The day the pictures took on a sense of colour palette realism.

For me it was the moment and it’s the same moment for nigh on all children with more melanin, when they reach for the brown colour and start to shade their face in. When they realise no one else reached for the brown 😏🤔🤷🏾‍♂️🤣.

And that’s the moment. That’s the moment when we all need our kids to hear positive things about every shade of skin on the planet. Normalise it. Make it amazing. Don’t ignore it.

Babies already do that, it’s why they can’t take their eyes off a new person they meet. A person who isn’t mum or dad. Who has different hair, eyes and yes – different coloured skin.

Whether there is or is not a systemic racism issue within the UK is HUGELY emotive as a subject.

Possibly this is because people take pride in their country, their nationality and therefore see an accusation of systemic racism as an accusation of national racism and consequently an accusation of racism being labelled at them.

So let’s look at it differently.

I hate bananas. Can’t stand them. Devils food. Just – yeah 🥴🤢🤮. I won’t buy them, touch them or get close enough to smell them. Send me to do the weekly shop, say ‘get fruit as well’ don’t be surprised when I come back with berries and grapes.

If we have a cake competition at work, don’t make me a judge. If you do and you want to stand a chance of winning, can I suggest you don’t make Banana bread. (I always resisted judging cake competitions).

If we have a wellness campaign that involves fruit, what are the chances I’m ordering shedloads of bananas? Yep, you best get used to apples, berries and grapes or remove me from the position of ordering. (I just submitted the expenses, someone else ordered).

If we enter lockdown and I am asked to be the nominated shopper for the street, how many people do you think will now not see a banana for 12 plus weeks? Make me the shopper for the town, borough, city. The lack of opportunities to eat bananas just became systemic.

One person. One person with an irrational disgust for bananas.

NB – fortunately I’m professional enough to recognise my bananarism and actively, consciously worked to ensure I didn’t act on it and abuse my position. If you’re a banana do you still trust me?

Now imagine it wasn’t bananas. Imagine I had an irrational hatred of people with green eyes. Imagine I had been your Team Manager, Ops Manager, Director, VP, SVP, COO, CEO. What chance green colourism could become systemic?

What if I was the person interviewing for new roles, sitting as chair in disciplinary hearings. Still think it’s impossible to be systemic?

If you never got the role, could that have an impact on your future prosperity? What about your children?

What if it wasn’t eye colour. What if it were people with a disability? What if it was women?

If you’re adamant there could never be a systemic problem in the UK, can you tell me why it was only in March 2020 that the UK government (patriarchal construct) finally agreed to scrap VAT on female sanitary products?

2020 😏. Would you disagree the UK has/had a systemic issue with gender equality?

2020 the UK has a Prime Minister who, in the past, described black people as [derogatory racial slur – Google it yourself]. The US has a President who, in the past, [allegedly] refused to provide housing to black people.

See how this works?

See why people might be concerned?

If you still disagree, would you at least acknowledge ‘it’s plausible’?

For many, the initial response to #BlackLivesMatter is to say #AllLivesMatter.

The reason that invokes a negative reaction is because it appears to dismiss the initial plea.

It’s a ‘what came first?’ situation. The movement, the plea or the injustice that sparked it off.

I can understand how someone might think it a divisive statement or even racist. I get it. But it’s not. Perhaps the former, but not the latter.

And yes, there will be #BlackLivesMatter activists who are racist. Racists come in every colour, culture and walk of life. That doesn’t mean the movement itself is.

Just like all police aren’t racist (they are not). All men aren’t sexist (they are not). All (you get the point).

Hong Kong, Philippines, Syria, Ireland, The Balkans. Injustices. Inequality. That’s the reality of our world.

If someone screams Filipino Lives Matter, my first instinct isn’t to correct them with #AllLivesMatter – it’s to ask them what is going on. It’s to acknowledge I might not understand their plight and they may be in need of attention and global support.

Parents, how many have taken their child to the GP with a fever, but felt ignored? How many times did you have to take them before being told to go to A&E – you were right, their condition was worse than the GP thought?

You get to A&E, sit there for hours feeling further ignored. You get told, there’s a backlog – you’ll get seen when they can, there are other casualties whose condition is worse.

You scream, my child is sick – they need to be seen!

You aren’t dismissing the lives of the other casualties, you aren’t saying your child’s life matters more. You’re screaming that; right now, you need acknowledgement, help, support.

How triggered would you be if they responded #AllLivesMatter?

Both statements can be true. Life is nuance. It doesn’t mean one statement is more true than the other. It’s saying our perspective of life gives us a different viewpoint.

It’s saying, is it really necessary right now to say #AllLivesMatter. Is it really more important than finding out what is wrong?

We should all be equal. But we aren’t treated that way. We just aren’t.

If there is one thing I’d dearly love today, it would be for more people to understand #BlackLivesMatter isn’t an attack on anyone else’s right to be treated equally, it is an attack on a system that has consistently made some people feel they aren’t valued at all.

I long for the day when it is unnecessary; just like it would be great to not need to have #BlackHistoryMonth or #ChildrenInNeed or #NSPCC #WorldWildlifeFund.

All are in response to something that has gone wrong.

Happy to discuss. Pop into the comments. Better to talk, listen and debate the issue than fear someone is going to call you a racist just because you dared to ask.

#BlackOutTuesday #BlackLivesMatter