With all that has been going on this year regarding the Black Lives Matter movement and the deaths of numerous people of colour, you would think that this year's Black History month would be more important than ever. Yet, it seems to have been overlooked and forgotten. Marginalised, even. Instead, people are more excited for Halloween.
So, why has this happened?
Halloween is a very commercialised holiday, with adverts starring for it from the middle of September. But, how many adverts do you see for Black History Month? Personally, I've hardly seen any. The only UK channel that does seem to be doing anything is Channel 4, with their series of programmes called ‘Black and Proud’. But, is Channel 4 doing it for the right reason of making black voices heard, or is it just tokenism?
Tokenism is the symbolic effort to be inclusive towards members of a minority. A key example of this is having one black actor in a predominantly white cast. That is just the beginning of it though. As the UK is predominately run by straight white males in all industries.
This is shown in our schools, through the curriculum. As in English class we mainly read stories written by dead white men. In History we only really learn about Black History through during the slave trade. So, my experience of Black History Month has always been very minimal due to how the UK is.
Yet, people say that the UK is not racist.
To get involved more in Black History Month and the Black Lives Matter movement as a whole, please educate yourself. Here at TWE we have numerous articles on the topic, plus there are many more out there on the internet. There are also many videos and podcasts. One that I recommend is "So You Want to Talk About Race" by Ijeoma Oluo, which comes in book form, audiobook form, blog and podcast. So, whether you’re a reader or a listener, there are always opportunities to educate yourself.
There needs to be some serious systematic change in order for us all to live in a more equal and accepting society. The UK is a diverse place and this needs to be represented, everywhere from the media we consume daily to the school curriculum we all studied as children. As teenagers, we are the next generation - we will be the ones in power soon. So, we must fight for change and pave the way for a better society.
Teenagers With Experience is an organisation created to provide teenagers with a platform to share and help others from their own experiences while also educating others on different topics. We aim to provide a safe space to all teenagers around the world and support others. You can contact us via email, social media or our contact form found on our home page.