My Experience: Growing Up Black In The UK.

As we all know, currently we’re going through Covid-19 Pandemic. However, in regards to recent events Black people around the world have come together and spoken out on racism and against a system that is against us as Black people.

I wanted to talk a little about experiences of racism I have faced whilst growing up a British Born Black girl.

I’m writing this so friends and family can know what I have experienced and this can educate some of you who haven’t seen it so blatantly in front of you.

I’m going to start with Primary School;

Innocent little me in Primary School at the tender age between 8-11 years old experienced blatant racism for the first time in my life. If I’m honest, I probably experienced it before then however didn’t recognise it. The first time I was believed to have actually experienced racism was when I was called a ‘monkey’ and ‘gorilla’ by another pupil at the school. This caused me so much anger and hurt that I started to dislike going to school. Till this day I remember the full name of the student who used to treat me this way. This child was a playground bully, it would never be in the presence of teachers or dinner ladies, only in the playground far away from any adult. So when I complained about it, my voice wasn’t really heard. The older I got and towards the end of primary school, I started to talk about it more with staff at the school and I finally felt something would be done. He was taken out of school, but not just for racism, for other behaviours as well.. And it mainly for the disruption he would cause in class. Throughout my whole time in Primary school I only experienced racism from TWO pupils, which in itself is bloody fantastic. My parents really made sure the school we went to would be a good school with an outstanding reputation and I probably didn’t experience much racism at this school than I would have if I had attended other schools in my area, which I am thankful for but nothing could prepare me for the racism I experienced in Secondary school.

So lets move on to Key Stage 3-4 (Secondary School);

I got to secondary school and thought ‘Oh my gosh, this is amazing!’
There were many different ethnicities and I felt as though racism wouldn’t be an issue for me in a school with many different cultural backgrounds. This was a substantial amount more than the Primary School I attended, so I really thought I’d have no issues. LOL, I was terribly wrong. Again, I could name you every single individual that used racist remarks towards me, I do believe people can change and learn right from wrong, but I feel people need to own up to being racist, or having been a racist person before educating themselves and understanding why racism is so wrong. However, I truly don’t believe these people are no longer racist (so I better not see them jumping on the bandwagon claiming they stand with black people). During school, I was spat at by a student, he called me ‘rubber lips’, I was called monkey, gorilla, ape, black bitch, you name it and I’ve been called it. This wasn’t just by one pupil, but MANY. Not only was I verbally abused, but physically too, I’d have things thrown at me, I’d be shoved, sometimes students would even do things in the classroom in front of teachers and it’s not until I explode and either throw an item back at them it would get noticed. There came a time during school where I started to actually physically challenge those who were racist to me, I’d slap them, kick them, shove them back do whatever I could to show them I’m not taking their s**t anymore. I would get prank calls to my mobile number calling me all the racist names under the sun.. At a point I felt like I just wanted to die because even if I wasn’t at school I’d experience it, home wasn’t a safe escape for me because I was then bullied through my mobile phone. I would cry in the classroom on many occasions with my head down in the desk or I would walk out of class and this had such an impact on a lot of my learning. For the 5 years I was at Secondary school I hated every single day of it. I had to report racism from individuals many times before anything ever got done and even then it was never enough for them to stop what they were doing to me. My whole secondary school experience gave me major social anxiety and I was also having therapy/counselling during the latter part of my school experience and early part of my college days.

Racism is what lead me to having social anxiety, so when I started college I didn’t make new friends as quickly as all the friends I had at school did. I would rarely ever go in the canteen, I would sit in the classroom all day even in free periods. A lot of people thought I was being anti-social or that I thought I was ‘too good’ to be friends with anybody. People had an image of me that I was ‘stuck up’ but it really wasn’t the case. I was simply protecting myself and avoiding people so I wouldn’t experience the hurt I had previously experienced in Secondary School. I had a small group of friends at college that I adored, they helped me in many ways without even realising it.. Not only was I dealing with social anxiety but was also dealing with home life as well. I had an issue with asking for help from teachers because my past experiences proved that asking for support got me nowhere.. I would struggle in certain lessons and instead of receiving support from the staff I would get dismissed and they would always put my work down and I genuinely felt they just ‘didn’t like me’. I would ask their opinion on what can improve my work, once I did exactly that I would get a ‘fail’ although I did what was asked of me. I gave up and decided to move college, however I couldn’t quite fit in there either, so I moved back and continued my courses. The lack of support I received made me believe there was no point in attending University, I was one of the only ones in my main class who didn’t apply for University. Overall I was done with the education system. I finished my exams and was marked B grade in Media Studies, after being predicted a D grade. This made me decide to give University a go after all and that their predictions for me were way off. I applied to University through clearing.

After getting into Uni, I didn’t attend freshers week and I also didn’t apply for housing accommodation. This was simply from my social anxiety which developed from the racism/bullying I experienced throughout life & no amount of racism was worth me leaving my mother at home. My whole first semester I didn’t converse with people on my course, again people thought it’s because I was stuck up. The first semester I wanted to quit University almost every week. I would actually ask my boyfriend at the time to come to University with me and whilst I was in lessons he would sit and wait for me in the library, then I would go hang out with him during break between lectures. I was also a carer for my mother and this also became an excuse for me not to leave home. I had generalised anxiety as it is from living with an unwell parent, I come from a big family on both sides so I’m not an unsociable person, the social anxiety came from school & life experiences that involve racism/bullying. For people who have been to School, College or University with me, it might start to make sense to you why I was the way that I was if I never really explained it to you at the time.

My life experiences outside of the education system are things as simple as sitting on the beach one time with a friend and her daughter, having a lovely day enjoying the sun.. and a little girl no older than 3 or 4 whilst walking along the beach holding hands with her mother said “Look mum, there’s a black person!” whilst also pointing at me. Never in my life as a child did I ever point at another person and say “Look mum, there’s a white person!” or any other race for that matter and I’m quite sure I don’t think any white person I know has ever experienced that either. It’s something as simple as getting into an argument with someone and them using your race against you, or even referring to me as an animal. Or something along the lines of ‘When I first met you I thought you would be really aggressive and such a bitch’, because Black girls are always perceived as aggressors. I could go on and on about how many experiences I’ve had with racists, but this post would go on forever and ever! If you’d like to ask me about specific things then feel free and I will explain them in more depth to you. Racism has also changed the way many black people view themselves, people bleach their skin because they feel they’d be ‘more desirable’ or ‘treated fairly’ the fairer their skin is.. This is all down to racism. Racists do not realise the impact they have on people and how their racism has shaped these peoples lives; Including mine.

I want to end this saying this is not aimed at white people only, I have experienced racism from not only white people but from other ethnic backgrounds, in this post I am not ‘attacking’ white people. I am speaking out on racists.

Where to donate & petitions for #BLACKLIVESMATTER > search ‘Justice for Breonna Taylor/George Floyd/Ahmaud Arbery/Belly Mujinga > search ‘Black Protest Legal Support UK’


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