I’ve lived in London all of my life. Born, bred and raised here, basically. It’s crazy how multicultural my city is. Only forty-four percent are white British. So growing up in London teaches you to be tolerant and aware of different cultures and traditions.
I am also proud to say that I’ve never experienced racism firsthand. I feel like living here makes it really hard to understand the extremity of racism in other parts on the UK or other countries in the world. Obviously I learnt about racism in school but it never felt like a hugely real concept to me.
Recently, I read a book and watched a film that really made me wake up and appreciate the fact that I live in such a multicultural and culturally-tolerant society.
The book I read was Malorie Blackman’s Noughts and Crosses. I feel like I was the last person on Planet Earth to read the book but I finally got there! I absolutely loved it. It was so engaging. Now, without giving away too much, Malorie was extremely clever in the way she wrote it. She flipped racism and segregation, and re-wrote history, so to speak. In the book, black people weren’t being discriminated against, it was the white people. What I like is that this isn’t ever made explicit in the book. She called white people ‘noughts’ and black people ‘crosses’, so it’s evident that it isn’t a personal vendetta against anyone or any race. Seriously, the way this woman writes is just crazy.
The film I watched is called ‘Ruby Bridges‘ and it is based on a true story. The story follows a little black girl in first grade called Ruby, who is highlighted as a smart, overachieving little girl, therefore she’s amongst the first black children in New Orleans to attend ‘white people’ school. Bare in mind, this story is based years ago when prejudice was very much a normal part of American life. Without giving too much away, Ruby endures some crazy things, some heart breaking things that no child should ever have to face. With the love of her family, friends, teacher and faith, Ruby overcomes racial barriers. This movie is so beautifully created, and really made me appreciate the society I live in, especially as a young black woman.
If you get the opportunity to read this book or watch this film, jump at it, because you’ll be greatly inspired, just like I was.