This article will share insight into my views on racism and the impact that racial abuse can have on mental health wellbeing.
What inspired this article?
Just like many others in our communities when England didn't win the penalty shootout following a deadlock 1-1 with Italy for over 90mins, I knew what backlash would follow.
Racial abuse, acts of violence, and anarchy.
That morning after the match, work started, as usual, checked in on my patients, and tried my best to stay away from social media.
Low and behold.
I was sent several posts from various people sharing posts of racial abuse towards the black football players.
From memes about bringing back slavery to creating polls for stomach-turning games, how retribution should be sought by attacking the BAME general public.
Disgusting, evil, inhuman things I won't breathe air into repeating.
Some didn't say anything about race but stated "in all fairness even if a white player missed we would be just as angry."
This comment and others gaslight the issue at hand and are false narratives.
When Southgate, Beckham, Lampard, Gerrard missed penalties, between 1996 - 2004, not once was their skin used against them.
It was sad to see that after all the campaigning, peaceful protests, all the podcasts, there is still so much work to be done to end racism.
Other than sports and the entertainment industry, I think of the Professors, Doctors, Surgeons, nurses, administrators, teachers, mentors, volunteers.
I think of all the people who have positively contributed to the world who have experienced prejudice, discrimination, and abuse directly or indirectly.
I reflected on elders in our community about how life was 60 years ago and in comparison, things are better in the aspect of opportunities.
It's obvious now that we have the technology we can record when someone is being assaulted or abused and hope that laws in place hold up to their duty.
Here the law in the UK states:
(5) A person guilty of an offence under this section is liable on summary conviction to imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months or to a fine not exceeding level 5 on the standard scale or to both. The Racial and Religious Hatred Act 2006 amended the Public Order Act 1986 by adding Part 3A.
The impact racism has on mental health
Racism can be expressed at a structural or individual level, with multiple different measures of racism.
Institutionalized racism, has been defined as, “the structures, policies, practices, and norms resulting in differential access to the goods, services, and opportunities of society by race/ethnicity".
Let's touch base on the impact racial abuse can have on physical and mental wellbeing.
As a health and social professional, I have witnessed the implications that victims of prolonged racial abuse may experience such as:
Post-traumatic stress disorder
Depression and Anxiety
Self-harm ( including substance misuse)
Fleeting thoughts of suicide sometimes with the intent to action
Support from organizations that specialize in supporting victims of prejudice, discrimination, and racism can be helpful.
Many of us were pro-equality before the BLM #hashtag and movement began last year.
We must demolish health and social inequalities and break the cycle of being pitted against each other.
Here is the link to young minds where the young in our communities express feeling ashamed of who they are because of the colour of their skin!
Racism hurts children, in real and fundamental ways. It hurts not just their health, but their chances for a good, successful life.
But what can we do to end racism?
How do we do it?
For me, the first step is to educate yourself.
Sadly many people are misinformed and associate black people's history with oppression and slavery.
The history of dynasties that existed before the 15th-century transatlantic slave trade here is not a topic in school.
I think this is one of the reasons people feel uncomfortable talking about racism with the BAME community, by default they might feel awkward.
I have also read that people stay silent because they don't want to apologize for something their ancestors did 400 years ago.
Again it's that underlying segregation issue...
Even the term "BAME" irritates me if I'm honest.
I found this presentation by Akala at Oxford University inspiring and insightful
Here is a link to some useful info
Whether you are a person from the BAME community, the LGBTQI community, Allie, or just a fellow human being who is sick of hatred.
Support your communities by speaking out when you see someone being abused racially attacked.
I'm not expecting anyone to be the vigilante that I sometimes feel like ( a joke).. but not all heroes wear capes.
Sticking up for someone being abused is a noble and loving gesture - like the world I hope will exist one day.
I'd love to hear other people's ideas on what they think will help demolish racism do get in touch via kay@survivingthestormonline if you want to touch base.
Love and Light to you all!