Black Lives Matter

Dear Members,

For the record, BLACK LIVES do MATTER. Watching a group of American Policemen, kneeling on George Floyd who is saying “I cannot breath”, and carrying on for nearly 10 minutes, until he was dead, is clearly wrong.  This is just the latest case in a long list.

What is clear is that the Police Officers involved felt “Entitled” to behave like this. This business of Public Sector entitlement, is a very worrying problem. It needs Addressing. How? By Acting Together. How? Take the first step, Speak to someone. Then Vote Accordingly.

Welwyn Hatfield Council lit up the Clock Tower in Recognition and Unity – Well Done –

But no-one is speaking out. What will be different tomorrow? How will our BAME communities, that bring so much, feel safe and that they belong? The young black male suicide rate in the UK is a disgrace.

In the UK, part of the list looks like this,

Sean Rigg, Joy Gardener, Leon Briggs,

Christopher Adler, Rashan Charles,

Olaseni Lewis, Stephen Lawrence,

Mark Duggan, Dalian Atkinson, Sheku Bayoh.

WHAT CAN WE DO?

I was sent a letter, from a black lady, seeking understanding from the community as a whole. If I get her permisson I will publish it.

In it she says, yes of course all lives matter, but right now it’s the black community who know that their lives matter less. (To put it mildly)

She says

“When a house in on fire, the firebrigade come and spray water on the flames. The neighbours don’t demand that they spray their houses as well – WHY? Because their houses are not on Fire”

It does not help when Senior Police Officers talk about a Robust response, it’s a given. It just sets fire to more houses in the minds of the people we are trying to help.

I call on our politicians to quote this example, and be clear that they will do something about it. Not more Reviews. No more Civil servants hiding it under a bucket, no more Home Office Windrush scandal under Amber Rudd.

The independent enquiry into the Home Office identified Institutionalised Racism. I now understand that the Equalities and Human Rights Commission, have announced a formal enquiry. (Curious Timing) I wonder how many people will get fired / prosecuted. It would be interesting to know how many of the 30,000 Home office employees said This is Wrong and resigned. What price integrity?

We need people getting together in the House of Lords, and talking about it. Not communty leaders with an agenda. We need to listen to Grass roots people from the community, acting in a transparent and quantifiable manner.

This is the type of work we undertook with West Midlands Police in Birmingham. Properly managed, PCSO’s are good at this. The Work we undertook is now an ACPO best practice case study on community engagement. Anyone who is interested feel free to email me on nick@welhatchamber.co.uk.

In my own small way I have added Black Lives Matter as a category on this website. So now it’s official !!!  Someone does give a damn.

Here are the Lyrics from Pink Floyd’s Wish you were here.

There is a message for George Floyd We Wish you were Here.

There is also a message for our Public Sector, those that Exclude us and feel Entitled to do so.

We wish that you were here, on our side.

It is after all what we elect and pay you for.

But it just ain’t so. – Mark Twain

 

Wish you were here

So, so you think you can tell Heaven from Hell,

blue skies from pain.

Can you tell a green field from a cold steel rail?

A smile from a veil?

Do you think you can tell?

And did they get you to trade your heroes for ghosts?

Hot ashes for trees?

Hot air for a cool breeze?

Cold comfort for change?

And did you exchange a walk on part in the war for a lead role in a cage?

How I wish, how I wish you were here.

We’re just two lost souls swimming in a fish bowl, year after year,

Running over the same old ground.

What have you found? The same old fears.

Wish you were here.

3 Responses

  1. Nick Stephens
    | Reply

    From a good friend of mine: Posted on his Facebook so I’m sure he’s happy for me to reproduce.

    Have you noticed how a white man can go into his old high school and unleash terror with an automatic weapon, before killing himself, and that the commentary which follows revolves around his mental health and recent instability, and how the system has failed to support him? We are all asked to give to the fund for the affected families and a politician calls for gun control, then it all drifts away until the next time….. Now imagine the press reporting if you replace the white man with a black man. Exactly!

    Have you noticed how a black man can be killed by a policeman, whilst being “restrained”, and the initial media reports that he was trying to pass a fake bank note, or that he was stealing, or worse that there has been an accident and a suspect has passed away?

    Having had a comparatively privileged white upbringing, in a very white area, it wasn’t until college that I started to regularly mix with a new set of friends who came to study from all over the country and all over the world, who had different ethnic backgrounds, different sexual orientations, different political and religious views, and different perspectives on the world.

    In a short space of time I learned more about the real world and the issues in it than through-out my whole school life from 4 to 18. It’s why I have always encouraged people to take the step to go to college or university, to leave their home, if they possibly can. It’s why I am concerned that today’s students will suffer so much from Covid-related home study, it is not and can never be a substitute for time spent with others.

    After the freshers weeks, during which drinks flowed and new friendships were made, it wasn’t long before I started to feel that some people were being treated unfairly or unjustly. I witnessed blatant homophobia in the town. This was not a students v townies issue, it was a straight forward decision by a publican to eject two men for holding hands in his pub. I also witnessed blatant racism, bizarrely by an asian bus driver. Thankfully this was a good few years ago now, and I haven’t witnessed a blatant example for a while, but I have become more and more aware of acts that are, putting it politely, non-inclusive, that are sexist or racist, but maybe carried-out in a disguised or maybe an unconscious way.

    There are some excellent corporate programmes run by consultancies, such as Pearn Kandola, that help people at work come to terms with unconscious bias. Simply defined, these courses help us understand how we have been wired by our education and experiences, and how we need to challenge ourselves every day, until it becomes second nature.

    There was an excellent NatWest advert a few years ago, which helps explain. The camera zooms into a street where a young skinhead is seen rugby tackling an old lady to the ground and grabbing her handbag as it flies off. At first sight many thought that they had just witnessed a mugging. Why? Because that’s what skinhead’s do of course! The scene is then replayed from a wide angle, and it is clear that a piano is hanging precariously from a crane and is about to drop on the old lady. Far from mugging her, he has saved her life. The youth goes from zero to hero in seconds, and we are reminded to question our “gut” instinct.

    Of real concern, though, is that some organisations think they have then done their bit by offering unconscious bias training, and move on. It takes effort, and sometimes courage, to embed a real change in culture, especially when you are confronted by widespread apathy, or the all lives matter stock response.

    I am writing this because I am a part of the problem.

    I have to admit that I have spent many hours in my working life re-examining my own actions, an error that I have made, or trying to understand why I made a pre-judgement on gender or race or disability, or why I allowed another director to do the same, without adequate challenge. The expectation that you will follow the cultural norms, toe the line with biased practices, or not rock the boat, is very strong to this day in corporate life. It is why whistle blowing is so necessary. It is why people with courage need to be brave, and not hold back from letting their colleagues know when they have not met the standard. It’s why I have no ill feelings to those who have called me out as I continue to learn, It’s why language is so important, and why we need to push back when someone says that we are “just being politically correct”.

    In the same way that people retort with ‘All Lives Matter’, when confronted with ‘Black Lives Matter’, are completely missing the point, and trying to bury a specific presenting issue, we all need to actively call these actions out, how ever uncomfortable it is. Even small things need to be sorted, so that the habit sticks. Just a few weeks ago I had been following news coverage of the Space-X launch and tweeted about the first “manned” launch from America in years. When a good friend pointed-out that I had just failed, I kicked myself, but even so I caught myself muttering that the two astronauts were men, so technically…. and there you go, how deep this stuff is embedded. Trivial on the face of it, but not when combined with so many other similar sayings.

    In the past few weeks all these things have been brought back into focus by the events in Minneapolis. Anger that another black man is callously killed. Anger that the President of the US seeks to stoke the fire and incites further unrest. Frustration that anarchic groups appear to have commandeered some of the peaceful demonstrations and made a bad situation worse. Concern that all this will blow over and that nothing will change and that the cycle will repeat again and again. Delight that so many people are posting positive things on social media, then saddened at the realisation that so many are simply cutting and pasting, and probably not even reading or checking the facts of what they are posting. Saddened also that the bandwagon will end soon, probably the moment that something else grabs the attention of the news media. So many emotions.

    I posted in LinkedIn that I had talked to four of my mentees (three are not white) a few days after George Floyd was killed. I was shocked to learn that one was stopped and searched, on average once every month, he gets called names related to his race, people cross the road to avoid him (pre-Covid) and, this is in suburban London in 2020.

    There are articles about what you can do if you have a genuine desire. The price of being a part of a relatively democratic society is that we tolerate indifference in the same way that we tolerate thugs throwing a Nazi salute whilst protecting the statue of Churchill, without understanding the irony of their actions or, indeed, anything about his inglorious past. But please do think about it, do stay alert to racism, speak out, and don’t remain silent. Beyond everything, let’s see if we can make a start by educating the young people in our schools, so they can make their own decisions and create a different future to the one currently mapped-out.

    • Nick Brown
      | Reply

      Nick Hi,
      Thank you for that. And thanks to Ted for his thoughts.
      Yes what matters is that our children are taught to think for themselves and are given access to all the facts, so they can take balanced decisions that adapt with the circumstances.

      This is why political correctness and biased broadcasting are so dangerous.

      Nick

      The truth is not for all men, but only for those who seek it

      Ayn Rand 1905 – 1982

  2. Nick Stephens
    | Reply

    Credit to my earlier post goes to Ted Smith

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