Let's Face It!
I'm a little surprised at myself for even posting this here on LinkedIn. My black dad and white mum raised me to believe that if I wanted a career, I must find a way for people to ignore my brown skin. It's seems weird that I'm now putting it under the spotlight.
By no means have I ever felt ashamed of my race, I'm black and proud! Yet I am conscious that I've deflected attention from it. My upbringing taught me that the first thing new acquaintances will see is the colour of my skin. If I want people to recognise who I am and what values I hold dear, I must find a way to overcome being "just" a black woman. I've therefore promoted myself as a 'Nottingham Gal' , the 'Bonnie lass with the blue hair' or 'She of the Lamo clan'. It never occurred to me to celebrate my blackness. Likewise, I've never drawn attention to the differences my mixed race family experience based on the differing amounts of melanin in our skin; I've never acknowledged why some situations make me feel trepidatious; and I've never questioned why blackness should even be a barrier?
It's therefore encouraging to witness this moment in history; to hear people of other races ask what's really going on? Less people are reacting to the statement 'Black Lives Matter' with "ALL lives matter!". Instead, the statement is now being responded to with a question "why would black people feel their lives don't matter?". One of the best answers to the question is found on this PBS Newshour special. For those suggesting that this is a problem, but only in the United States, I would remind them of the recent Windrush Scandal, Dave's performance at the Brits and the significant % of BAME UK deaths from Covid-19.
The hue of a person's skin needn't be a hindrance to their professional success. But, unfortunately, some people aren't offered the opportunity because sadly, race still matters. None of us should hide from this basic fact. And no one should feel they must detract attention from it.