This may sound like a silly question, but is racism prominent where you live? In the USA, everyone makes a big deal about it, at least from what I gathered from online. - Gup
I don’t know how to really answer this. I mean yes, it exists, as I imagine it exists in most (if not all) parts of the world, but I guess it wouldn’t be as prominent or evident as in the United States.
So far I’ve lived in three countries: England, the U.S., and now currently Canada. I’d say that if I were to rank racism (if that’s something you can even do) from least prominent to most prominent, it would probably be England->Canada->U.S.
I’d probably do a really poor job of explaining, but I’ve seen other black Brits on sites like Reddit who explained how I feel pretty well, so I’ll go to them and post their two cents:
As a young adult who lived in the UK for 6 years as a child but now in America, I can think of a few key differences. First, most black people in England who are middle aged to old come from other countries like Jamaica, Nigeria, etc. Many of them still have a strong sense of nationality with their respective diaspora, so while they all classify as black, you really have Nigerian, Jamaican, or whatever country they are from as their “cultural identifier”, and it’s most definitely not a homogenized racial group. Most of the younger generation, so mine and younger seemed to strongly identify with the general British culture to varying degrees. Some cling closely to their foreign heritage as a core component of their identity, while some like myself, most likely due to my young age, just want to do what the other kids are doing and form a strong attachment to the people around them, which for me were mostly white middle class British people.
When I moved to the States, African American culture was foreign to me. The history of slavery and the civil rights movement that seem to almost be the face of an entire race in America was not really a part of my identity, just part of my knowledge of history, as I had no direct attachment to it. For example, if you asked me to picture a slave, I would most likely think of a slave as portrayed in biblical senses as opposed to African Americans. In England for people such as myself, black really was just a descriptor like having red hair or big teeth. I’m not saying people weren’t racist at times, but the prejudice was mostly aesthetic based, (blacky, darky) as opposed to inferred characteristics based (lazy, uneducated, fried chicken, watermelon loving). Because there wasn’t really a unified idea of what “black people” did. If anything, the closest thing would be just being pejoratively labeled as a “foreigner”, but if you had a British accent like I did, that wasn’t really a problem.
In America however I find it dangerous that things, activities and characteristics are labeled as “black”. Firstly, people here begin to think that these characteristics are universal and somehow genetically predetermined. While they may not believe it on an intellectual level, it is possible for your subconscious dispositions to not align with your knowledge. Being black in America means that people assume certain things about you, and acting contrary to those beliefs is a shock. The biggest one for me is the belief that that all black people pop out of the womb speaking in ebonics. I lost my British accent for the most part (it makes appearances late at night accompanied by copious amounts of alcohol), but I would say I sound very neutrally North Eastern American. The second I open my mouth to speak, people’s body language changes completely. They are less guarded and way more friendly now, but in high school I was again made fun of for being the “white black guy” like I was some sort of race traitor, and I got it from both sides, white and black. It didn’t help that a large part of my interests were typically not things ascribed with being black, but as a kid of the 90’s who wanted desperately to be cool I started to learn guitar, how to snowboard, and listened to a lot of American mainstream music that was labeled as cool. While absorbing this media, it never occurred to me that I didn’t see any black people doing these things because race wasn’t even on my radar. For me, the only thing that people thought about me as “black” was my skin color. It’s gotten mostly better as I’ve gotten older, but at the same time I’ve actually gotten a lot more race sensitive because of the way I was treated.
Something that really bothers me still is that at all times here in America when people say “he’s cool” referring to me, they often take that as a sign that it’s ok to put down other black people in front of me or joke about me being “white on the inside where it counts”. I started as race neutral, but hearing the way a lot of people perceive and talk about black people in this country has actually made race more a part of my identity than ever before. So much of it is just not ok, and I feel a moral obligation to not just sit there and listen to it passively. It might be a case of an identity almost being forced on me by the people around me (oh he’s the token black guy) rather than one I chose for myself. I used to never ever bring up race issues as a topic of conversation, but I heard more and more stuff by nature of being “cool” that made me realize that here in America, being black you aren’t initially even seen as being a human being first by many people. You are a black human being, and with that, people feel comfortable about generalizing and assuming. Many people take pride in that label, as it’s one they’re going to get whether they want it or not, so they might as well get “in your face with it”, while others attempt to carve out identities via things other than race (gender, sexuality, occupation). Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. I could go on about this all day honestly, but this is already a wall of text.
TL; DR: In England your racial identity is moreso your national idenity to whatever degree you want it to be, while in America, your physical color is forced on you as a label
I love all the people who are like “hey, if Scotland declares independence wales will too” Haha. No. We are a bright happy singing people. That’s all we do. We won’t declare independence. :( Whatever. Good luck Scotland. Throw off the British yoke and all…
So glad that Scotland have voted to stay in the UK. They have more privileges than England (no tuition fees, their own parliament and free prescriptions) which are payed for by the rest of the UK. Not sure how they expected to pay for independence since a lot of facilities are payed for by the UK.