Halfway through Black History Month UK and I can admit it’s been informative, to say the least! It has brought out many racists who seem to have Twitter bot accounts simply to combat the narrative of a black history month needed, who complain about the focus on the negative slave trade but who also don’t believe in the success of many black people. There have been two controversial images doing the rounds that I am promoting, simply since they trigger the most negative responses from racists. I’ve been accused of being anti-white because of them and when I’ve suggested they read these “I’m not racist but…” posts, they tell me they aren’t interested in promoting the CRT (Critical Race Theory) whatever that means in this context.
“What have the Romans ever done for us!” I’m not one to shy away from learning and so I’ve taken it upon myself to look further into Black History when it comes to Europe. I’ll start with a conversation I’ve had so many times that it amazed me how little people knew of black history in the UK.
“Hey, Where are you from?”
me: “I’m currently X in London”
“No, but where are your parents from?”
“Oh, they live in Brighton”
This answer is followed by a quizzical look, a scratch to the head as they try to work out how to get the answer they want. “And your grandparents- where are they from?”
“Well my grandparents, they’re from up north- I think Bristol”
Frustration is seeping in because they can see I’m black, and so it’s impossible that I could historically be from the UK or even Europe. “Ok, I mean where are your ancestors from?”
I mirror their frustration and confusion. “What do you mean?”
“What are your origins?”
“Oh, I thought you meant that! Yep Bristol. I do believe I may have some ancestors from Scotland somewhere, but as far as I know, my relatives come from Bristol. And yes, before you say it, I know Bristol isn’t really North, but from Brighton, most places are!”I smile at them, glad I could provide them with the answers to their questions.
Some who are feeling brave, and know that I haven’t provided them with the information they were looking for delve deeper. “But you are black. You must be from Africa or the Caribbean!” they say incredulously. I can tell they are judging my intelligence at this point. The poor woman doesn’t understand where she comes from!
I know what the answer they are looking for. They want confirmation of my exoticness. However, because of the whitewashing of UK history, it rarely occurs to people that the slave trade brought black people to the UK from 1600. They can’t deny this and I enjoy providing a different perspective. That black people have lived in the UK for centuries. “Erm…I’m not sure because my ancestors have been in the UK since 1688 I believe…there’s mention of them in the Bristol Museum. So where are you from and how far back can you trace your lineage…?”
This line of enquiry is never asked of my white friends. I find it amusing because I am British by my clothes, how I speak, my values, education & career etc. It was pointed out to me after the map of the European Colonisation of Africa that I didn’t know enough about African European history. One person wanted to point out that rarely anything is ever said about the African colonisation of Europe. They were right. I’d never been taught this. After further investigation, I discovered that there has been a shared history going back to before the Roman Empire. There have even been black rulers of European countries. The Moors (meaning Children of Light from Omoros) for 700 years had colonized Europe & helped bring about the modern civilization we have today. Having come to Europe, they set up a base in Spain and even ruled over England.
So why do we not know this, or more importantly, why is this not common knowledge taught in schools? It’s quite simple. This information is contrary to the needed belief of black people being inferior to justify the slave trade and the systemic racism of western society. Whilst Christian Europe was illiterate, Moor ruled Europe had universal education, introduced paper, the current math we use today which is far more precise (Arabic numerals) as well as the compass. Hundreds of years before London or Paris, they had paved and at night illuminated streets. In Ireland, King Gormund ruled during the Anglo- Saxon period.
It’s even been speculated that the term blue blood stems from black people named blue people, a reference now to royalty and in line with how revered the Moors and those of African descent used to be. The same can be said of knights, warriors whose skin was black as night. However, further research into some of the people who make these claims can be described as blackwashing white history, just as a lot of black history has been whitewashed! It can be hard to ascertain all of the facts, after all, history is written by the victors. Text relating to African influence on Europe have been destroyed and those that exist are in Germain, Spanish, French and other non-English languages. This puts those born in the UK at a disadvantage as the population mostly speaks the one tongue (English) so are unable to read and thus access this information.
In conclusion, a lot more needs to be taught. This is what this month is for, to encourage looking into black history. Regardless of perspective, the world has a lot to thank black people for! Modern society as we know it couldn’t be as advanced without all the contributions from all people
Further reading or watching of the points made in this post.
- https://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Egmond_Codfried & http://www.allempires.com/forum/forum_posts.asp?TID=28268 (Was he a loon is the question?)