THE BLOG

The 'Race Card' Is Not a Privilege

09/12/2014 21:30 GMT | Updated 08/02/2015 10:59 GMT

Recently I've noticed an overwhelming increase in the use of statements such as 'here we go the race card again' and 'you can't just use the race card'. Sadly you're wrong, and I will continue to talk about racism and the extremely deep rooted affects it has on the black community in the UK and many other places across the world.

We've seen a rise in the term being used since the debate on whether Michael Brown was legitimately killed began.

I find it insulting that someone can use such a flippant statement which insinuates that black people continuously and purposely use their race for their own personal gain. A 'get out of jail card' if you like. This is all despite the fact the 'race card' statement is almost never directed at anyone with real privilege or influence. Just because you can't see racism, doesn't mean it's not there.

Racism is deemed by society in simple terms, as conscious discrimination against someone of another race or the belief that your race is superior. As a young black man growing up in London, I can tell you now that this is a gross oversimplification of racism and the hold it has had on my parents, currently has on me and will have on my children.

Despite common belief, having a black friend, dating a black person or even attending a rally against racism doesn't mean you're not part of racism's course. Racism is a sequence of complicated structures and practices built centuries ago and lives on in our day-to-day lives. It was built to control black people physically, psychologically, socially and economically. So although more abusive and evident forms of racism have now been outlawed by laws such as the Race Relations Act 1976 and the amendments that have taken place since; that's only half the story.

In modern day society, it is indeed true that a product of the manifestation of racism, is abuse, but ignorance, privilege and opportunity are all there too. You can't opt out of racism before you go to bed and wake up as a simple observer of racism. Product placement, means you have no choice in the matter. Things might be great on paper but the reality is, things still aren't right.

'If we stopped talking about race it wouldn't be such a problem' is a statement I hear far too often but actually not talking about racism only perpetuates the problem. Its a cop out, and just another way of ignoring a problem that is very real and apparent.

So when we look around, and we see disproportionate employment, vilification of black people, commodification of black culture, failings in justice, unbalanced access to influence and more, it's hard to sit back and pretend this issue came about over night. Let's not twist things and somehow pretend that black people enjoy having to call out racism. We don't, but we have no choice.