Friday, 18 October 2019

Black History Month

History is inescapable. It helps define our identity, our culture and our sense of belonging. By connecting to the past, we gain a better understanding of ourselves and our place in the world. Yet, some parts of history are ignored, suppressed or erased altogether. None more so than black history.

Although black people have been living in Britain as far back as the Roman Empire, their place in our national history has been exiled to the farthest margins.

Black history is British history. It is an inextricable part of our national narrative, but our teaching of it is parochial. Popular British history tends to be singular and hierarchal, revealing implicit biases about whose history is worthy of study, whose contributions are valid and who truly belongs.

Although black people have been living in Britain as far back as the Roman Empire, their place in our national history has been exiled to the farthest margins.

Historical accounts are whitewashed and revised, making black contributions invisible and insignificant. Our continued failure to redress these distortions means our understanding of the past becomes skewed and unbalanced.

Black History Month is our collective opportunity to recognise the lives and work of Black Britons. It is a national acknowledgement of the communities who have profoundly shaped our national and cultural identity. However, the celebration of these histories should not be confined to one month but must be proactively and intentionally acknowledged throughout the year. This is why I am proud to be a patron of the Black Cultural Achieves in Brixton.

During Black History Month we can demand better recognition of black British history in our national story

We should never become complacent in thinking the struggles of the past are over. The list of issues that disproportionally affect black people is vast: black men are more likely to be sectioned under the Mental Health Act, black women are more five times more likely to die giving birth, and black people as a whole are overrepresented in the criminal justice system. The ideologies that people of darker skin tones are inferior exist, even today. We are living at a time when black people are still being told to go back to back to Africa”, racial abuse is on the rise.  And to top it all off, our country is being led by a man whose descriptions of black people reek of empire and white privilege.

During Black History Month we can demand better. We can demand better recognition of black British history in our national story and we must demand better than the dog-whistle racism that has seeped into our politics and society.  Let us work to build a society where the history of every Briton is respected and honoured, without exception.


Follow this link for more info: http://www.libdems.org.uk/chuka-bhm