Educating ourselves on Black history and injustice – what they forgot to teach us at school.
In these past few weeks the Black Lives Matter movement has been on everyone’s mind day in and day out, where statistics are being exposed revealing the disparities that Black people are facing in every part of their lives including healthcare, education and employment. Protests have been ongoing throughout the UK where everyone is showing their determination for change.
It was during a protest that people pushed a statue of Edward Colston, that was displayed in the centre of Bristol, into a Bristol Harbour. Edward Colston was a man famously known for this philanthropy work, but shockingly, less known for his involvement in the slave trade. It is appalling that a statue of this man was still up to this day and that a vast amount of people in the UK, including myself, didn’t know of his dark history.
This highlighted the lack of knowledge amongst people in Britain about Black history, oppression and injustice. In school, we are told about the great role of Winston Churchill in leading Britain successfully through WW2 but omitted the part where he believed in a hierarchical perception of race. This is where, I believe, our education system has failed us. Teaching us who we should admire without giving us the whole story and only showing Britain in a optimist light.
Therefore, I have compiled some educational resources from Black activists and educators that i’ve discovered so that we can begin to learn more about Black history and how we can take action.
Firstly, I wanted to highlight a key movement in bringing Black history into the national curriculum. The Black Curriculum, a social enterprise that provide schools in the UK with Black history. Their aims include providing a sense of identity and cohesion to young people. Not only this, but they are urging the Education Secretary, Gavin Williamson, to incorporate Black History into the education system. You can find out more about them and how you can take action also at https://www.theblackcurriculum.com/
You can also sign a UK government and parliament petition to ‘Teach Britain’s colonial past as part of the UK’s compulsory curriculum’. When a petition on the UK government and parliament website exceeds over 100,000 signatures, the issue is considered for debate in Parliament and must be responded to. This petition has already exceeded 200,000 signatures but ongoing support is necessary. You can sign this petition by searching the title in bold. Make sure you confirm your email so that your signature counts!
For many of us, our schooling days are over so we need to look at other sources of education. Layla F. Saad, is a best selling author, speaker and social media figure and she complied a list of books that can help us understand racism and white supremacy, these include:
- Me and White Supremacy by Layla F. Saad
- Brit(ish): On Race, Identity and Belonging by Afua Hirsch
- Black and British: A Forgotten History by David Olusoga
These are just some amongst many others! You can find out more about her on her website http://laylafsaad.com/ and follow her on instagram @laylafsaad to find the full list!
Another amazing educator is Rachel Cargle, who actually featured in Layla F. Saad’s podcast, Good Ancestor Podcast, a podcast featuring individuals who are striving to make a change. Rachel Cargle is a writer, lecturer and academic who especially looks at the intersection between race and womanhood. You can find more about her at her website https://www.rachelcargle.com/ or her instagram @rachel.cargle, if you click in the link in her bio, there is an extensive range of resources which I would really recommend everyone looks at.
Finally, Reni Eddo-Lodge is the author of the best selling book ‘Why I’m No Longer Talking To White People About Race’ and was actually recently named the first British Black woman to top Britain’s non-fiction book bestseller chart. Through announcing this, she made sure to point out that why in 2020 was this still unaccomplished. She also made sure to emphasise that when buying her book, if you are able to, to match the cost and donate it local and national racial justice organisations or even borrow the book from a friend and do this. I urge you to also follow her on instagram at @renieddolodge as well as look at her website http://renieddolodge.co.uk/ where you can also listen to her podcast ‘About Race with Reni Eddo-Lodge’ and read her blogs!
Not only this, but we have to look within our community at Warwick to educate ourselves also. You can find Anti-Racism resources listed on the university website here: https://warwick.ac.uk/services/equalops/learnmore/training_guidance_resources/antiracismresources/
You can also engage in Warwick’s Anti-Racism Society and Speak Out Warwick and find out more about these societies and what they do here:
Warwick’s Anti-Racism Society: https://www.warwicksu.com/societies-sports/societies/warsoc/
The image I have used in the cover of this post was used in a report by these societies about recommendations on how we can combat racism within Warwick so please check this out. You can find it on the Speak Out Warwick link. Also on this website you can submit and read experiences of the Black and POC students at Warwick as a project to amplify their voices and make them and their experiences heard.
Thank you for reading! Please also comment other Black educators and activists as well as other educational resources you would recommend.