Spent Saturday afternoon watching another excellent Black history presentation by Tony Warner at the Imperial War Museum. To listen to my interview with him from last October, visit the Success Strategies Radio Show.
On Saturday, Tony showed a film of interviews with African Caribbean war veterans, talking about the way they were treated when they settled in Britain after the war.
He then screened another film, titled "Playing the Race Card", about how successive Labour and Tory governments brought in legislation to prevent immigration from Africa and the Caribbean in the '60s and '70s, but did nothing to support the Black people living here.
The film pointed out thtat there were not measures to slow down or curb immigration from Ireland, which was not a member of the British Commonwealth.
In the 1970s, many people who had originated from India but had been living in Kenya and Uganda settled in the UK after receiving pressure from Idi Amin and Jomo Kenyatta. Although they held British passports, many Kenyan Asans discovered that the law had suddenly changed to prevent them from settling in Britain.
Tony pointed out that, although there were huge labour shrtages at the time, African, Caribbean and Asian people were still being discriminated against in employment.
The presentation finished with a short film celebrating some of the many contributions African women have made. I strongly recommend it. Click here to watch it.
Tony's site, Black History Walks, lists future events he will be offering.
I made a decision that this year, I would focus more on the positive. Even though, oppression, discrimination and pain feature largely in our history, alongside this, it is important to focus on the positive. Hence, my article on Black History International.
I therefore add the following comments:
(1) Knowledge is power. I'm sure President Obama has told his children about the way his Kenyan grandfather was treated during Britain's occupation of Kenya. For more about this, see Obama's Inauguration.
Gloria J. Browne-Marshall told me that some of her students in New York from Caribbean backgrounds were not even aware that slavery had happened. Tony Warner told me on Saturday that he had encountered this himself. This kind of ignorance renders us more vulnerable to manipulation by those who would exploit and oppress us. To listen to my interview with Marshall, go to Success Strategies Radio Show.
(2) Tony Warner and I have both heard Black people (who should know better) say that too many immigrants are coming to this country now. These Black people need to be educated to know that they are behaving the same way white people behaved towards their ancestors one or two generations ago.
(3) Along with these stories of oppression and discrimination, there are always stories of courage, of resistance, of African brothas and sistas who have stood up against evil, and fought for their rights and the rights of others. These stories continue to inspire me.
(4) Most importantly, we need to remember that white people are not the enemy (although they often seem to be). The enemy is group mentality. Another example of vicious group mentality and its consequences is the Rwandan genocide as portrayed in Hotel Rwanda. A very small number of people were courageous enough to stand up to the group and behave as individuals in that situation.
I talk more about group mentality and the need for individuality in The Key to Confidence, and in my book What They Don't Want Us to Know.