One day: reflections on race

Endless night, relentless grinding. I maintain balance, stay upbeat and take care of my family the best I can. Like you, I have responsibilities but lockdown has slowed me down with unquenchable fatigue and the aftermath of this quarantine is an impending shock, longed-for yet unwanted, desired yet feared.

Glimmers of hope hovering over the morass of our new normal, prefiguring karmic rebirth: we hope for fairness and justice, we hope the best of us will rise to lead us. The cliche is the wound ripped open, the pandemic as a clarifying moment, a world-churning event that funnelled eons of injustice and inequality to the fore along with the guilt of billionaires and millionaires who lie, lie, lie. The cost of this change was tragic: loss, flesh, blood.

The murder of a 46 year old black man by a Minneapolis policeman; the murder and rape of a woman walking home in London by a policeman; the President told us to drink bleach; the Prime Minister who nearly killed himself but didn’t ever get better. These are headlines but the tragedy is well known to anyone with a heart, a metaphorical soul: the suffering and loss happens in quiet, unseen places, to people most likely not heard. Some things never change.

Sun beats down and on me and I know that I am free because I knew the truth about this before. I knew who was fighting in this culture war before official lines were drawn. In the UK our civil rights heroes are less celebrated than those abroad: Harold Moody, CLR James, Lord Learie Constantine, Olive Morris, Paul Gilmore. Now a three-word slogan that exemplified a glaring inequality is causing those who want the world to stay the same a public, psychic pain. Echoing through the ether, reverberating around streets that had been strangely empty hours before: all lives mater. They catcall and boo at the football and, before the whistle is blown, lines are drawn.

We just had 2020, the opening up of the wound. As we stand staring into the promise of a new day, the sun seems to set on our hopes of a fairer, more just and equitable world. People marched, people chanted, people forget, things stay the same and we call it healing. The work has been resisted by the right. Voices that range from cynical gob-shites to paranoid, oblivious relics, articulating beliefs which are deeply held. Others parrot misinformation in order to muddy the waters of truth. They seek to shatter the unity that has coalesced around the strength of the BLM movement. We cannot let them.