Lessons from 2020: The Black Lives Matter movement has inspired more Britons to stand up against racism and fight for an equal society
A Black Lives Matter protest at New Scotland Yard on June 21 2020 | PA Images
Since the murder of George Floyd, we are all now a bit more comfortable confronting the realities of anti-Black racism
Post-2020 I hope that we have become more honest and comfortable confronting the causes of systemic and structural discrimination and racism in society.
We should not feel embarrassed, for example, about being woke. Being woke just means you have awakened to the discrimination that exists around us in society. It means that you have personally taken note of it.
It was nerve-racking to speak about “Whiteness”. We are so often used to talking about “Blackness” and no one bats an eyelid but as soon as you speak about Whiteness, all of a sudden it felt like offence was meant, whereas in reality it was just a reference to the reality of a situation. How else are we going to move the dial on the issue of race if we ignore a major part of it?
Following the very brutal public lynching of a Black man, George Floyd, I think we are all now a bit more comfortable confronting the realities of anti-Black racism.
The reality is we have all been racialised. As UK rap artist and activist Akala has said, we have been racialised as Black and racialised as White. The ultimate objective is that we all understand that we come from one race – the human race – and racism is a social construct.
I hope we get to a time in society where we can all just live, all be present and – at the risk of sounding too kumbaya – love each other. Covid-19 has taught us that we are only as strong as the weakest link, so let’s not push aside anyone for our own self-importance. There is nothing like a global pandemic to show us all that mother nature is in charge.
The lesson we must learn is, no one is safe until everyone is safe.
Dawn Butler is Labour MP for Brent Central