A beautiful young woman stands
in the doorway of the room
you are sitting in.
Her name is Olga from
To you and me she looks good,
attractive and we wouldn’t know where she came from.
Nor her attitudes, nastiness, accent, nationality, background -
until she speaks and we meet in some way.
Olga was living in a project I was heading up
and volunteering on a children's holiday programme - she is great!
Another young woman stands in the door and
immediately there is a different reading in our
Before this person meets us, and we get to know each other -
how she relates, shares accent or attitude,
we see the young woman is black.
As a white person, and most in this community I am in as I write are white -
we can be prejudiced before we even give a person a chance.
When I was a kid in St. Helens, Lancashire,
my dad always called me a Nignog!
When MrsBeautiful & myself became Houseparents in a Young Offenders Unit
(She 22 - me 26) we met connected/loved black kids/families for the first time and
I was shocked to discover that ‘nignog’ was not a friendly,
superficial, jokey insult -
it was an abbreviation of nigger/golliwog!
I learned so much in that context.
I learned so much in The London Borough of Newham for 10 years.
I need to learn so much more here and now because
it is so easy to be prejudiced -
(I hate it, I hate it!)
When I lived in Londons East End once our front door
was sprayed with the letters 'N.F'.
Years on, we worked and lived in a YMCA in Romford,
where my car was sprayed with big letters,
'N.F’. (National Front - an 'alt right' organisation known for racist values & violence)
I feel disturbed writing this because I truly hate racism
and I feel uncomfortable hating anything!
I don’t hate the persons -
'We can see a persons behaviour
but we can’t see their journey’.
I was interviewed some time ago by a young Asian woman
doing research into racism.
I talked about this stuff - and more.
It also made me think!
Feel! Determined! Committed!
Reason for writing this?
I feel we have to watch it!
We can display attitudes to others of a different skin colour without knowing it.
(Skin colour - accent - nationality - cultural norms)
So I write and ask us all to consider being sensitive to this issue whatever our skin colour.
Feel our feelings.
Check how we feel when we see someone.
When we talk - to someone.
Then ask - self - am I using the right attitude?
You may or may not put your hand up to a faith.
The YMCA, who I have worked with Nation & European wide since I went freelance,
undertakes lots of wondrous work - worldwide.
Their International Youth Work bring youth together from many nations & influences
and gets these BHP’s to connect and learn beautiful values at a crucial age.
We need to be striving for growth in this racist/prejudiced world - as in all the things we do!
Back in the day
I had a friend called Harry Cumberbatch.
He was in a group I once facilitated.
I asked people to talk about their feelings - it is a powerful exercise - try it.::
This is one group exercise I used::
I asked people to talk about their feelings::
1 About their first name.
(I have a story & feelings around the story of me being ‘Pip’)
2 Their feelings about their surname.
(I remember clearly one woman who carried around her ex husbands name
when they had been long divorced - AND hated that fact )
Harrys surname is was his family name passed down generations.
It was a name he had lived with all his life.
His surname was via his fore-fathers like most people.
But it was not their choice of name
but chosen by a plantation owner
whose name was ‘Cumberbatch’ -
meaning every human he ‘owned’ as a slave
was named ‘Cumberbatch.
His family had been bought into slavery.
He carries around with him - wherever he goes = SLAVERY ……….