Don’t close that door…

So I have been considering some of the reasons that certain groups experience disadvantage. For example, I’ve talked about daily microagressions in The Everyday Racist, stereotypes in I am not your maid, and privilege in Check your privilege.

Whilst there are definitely many systemic issues and wider societal institutionally ingrained discrepancies. In certain situations, I think it’s important for marginalised groups take ownership for acting as catalysts for our own disadvantage. This is not necessarily about allocating blame but about offering an alternate explanation.

As a black woman, time and time again, I am in environments that lack representation. I look around and do not see faces that look like mine. Whilst there is a whole plethora of research that goes into the nuances of why that it is. One of the reasons that I have experienced that have not seen covered in great depth, is that we as disadvantaged people do not facilitate each others success.

I have frequently seen the analogy that success is not like an elevator, it is the stairs. It takes hard work and determination, it rarely gets handed to you. Whilst, I get why referring to success as an elevator is problematic. Bare with me for a second and let me suggest….

If success were an elevator…you need to send it back down to bring other people up

This is a premise that has been instilled in me from a young age. Yet, often I see that when people from marginalised groups (predominantly in race and gender), do actually make it to the top, they then close the door behind them. There seems to be the mentality that once people overcome adversity and reach a certain level, they feel as though they have worked so hard to reach where they are. Therefore, if other people are struggling to reach that level, it’s because they are not working hard enough.

For example, in my first year of University I was assigned a mentor in the year above. I would frequently ask her for guidance with essays or general advice, the usual type of thing a mentor is supposed to help their mentee with. And every time I was met with unresponded to messages or simply the undertone of an unwillingness to help. The topic came up with another friend and she told me that’s just how my mentor always behaved, she felt that if people wanted to do well then they needed to work hard for themselves.

Then about a year and a half later, the tables turn. I am in a situation where I am ahead and she needs my help with an application for a firm that I have already worked for. And this was a pivotal moment where I had a choice. I could act in the same way this girl had behaved towards me and tell her to help herself. I chose the opposite. And this is not because I am an inherently nice person. Because lord knows I can be really petty sometimes.

It was because I realised the importance of bringing people up with you. There is already a lack of black girls in these fields. Helping a fellow black girl smash these barriers to entry can only ever be a good thing. When I graduate and I’m in my city job trying to fulfil all my dreams – I want to be surrounded by other people like me. It is so important there is representation in all facets of society. Therefore, I have a duty to help as many people as I can.

Whilst intelligence, hard work and all that good stuff is important and contributes to our human capital. We also have a social capital which can either aide or hinder us. This is the area that many people from marginalised groups lack in. For example, this is the equivalent of the “old boys network” where other men from a particular socio-economic and educational background give each other a leg up. What leg up do black people give each other? What leg up do women give each other? We are actually more likely to tear each other down.

I feel as though this issue is one of the main reasons I struggled to be friends with other black girls when I was younger. Growing up in predominantly white area, I was often the only black girl in many situations. My sisters and I were the first black people in each our respective schools at the time. Therefore, it is easy to see why you might become threatened when there is another black girl. It can often feel like there is not enough space for people like you.

For example, at University I used to be really involved in the musical theatre society. And I remember there was another black girl and we didn’t really click at first. It always felt like we were being compared or in direct competition with each other. And often we probably were, there is already a lack of diversity in theatre so often we would actually be up against each other. I remember a particular scenario where we both got call backs for the same character and we essentially had this weird sing-off against. We both look back and laugh about this now, because we were able to realise that we could both exist in the same space and be fabulous. And we are now such good friends because of it.

And this is not a particularly new phenomenon. This issue of an unwillingness to help each other out is deeply embedded into history. For example, take this issue of race. During the slave trade, often slave masters would choose a few black slaves to be guards and watch over the other black slaves whilst they worked. These guards were still still slaves but they had some power, they were encouraged to whip other slaves and granted certain advantages. Likewise, light and dark skinned slaves were also segregated to either be the field or house slaves.

Already you can see a hierarchy emerging even within slaves. Whilst I am not arguing these guards should have helped the other slaves – of course, the situation made that inappropriate and self-preservation was important. However, I feel as though many black people still have this slave mentality now. When they become successful and rise through the ranks, it is almost as though they feel that by distancing themselves from other disadvantaged people, there is the hope they will not be treated like them. Just like in the slave trade with the guards, in doing so, they limit the benefits of having diversity as they merely offer a mirrored version of their slave masters.

We are no longer slaves…

This can often lead to them feeling the need to assimilate and mimic the behaviour of the privileged, be it stereotypical  Caucasian traits or in the case of women, exhibiting male traits. In itself this is not an issue, as ultimately I do not believe there is a specific “black” or “white” or even “male or “female” personality type, only stereotypes. However, this assimilation does become problematic when it results in marginalised groups who have become successful or are in a position of advancement turning their heads to the problems other marginalised groups face.

I feel as though there can also be a culture of self-hate amongst marginalised groups where they hate themselves for the thing that makes the marginalised e.g. black, woman, etc. Thus, they hate other people who remind them of themselves. This perpetuates a feeling of not wanting to support people like you which further facilitates marginalisation. Whilst, police brutality is a massive issue, a massive amount of black people are also killing black people. We heavily criticise each other which in turn sets the tone for how other people treat us. As Chris Rock said: “Everything white people don’t like about black people, black people really don’t like about black people,”

As with all these type of posts, this comes with a small caveat. Yes, bring people up with you. But this advice is for a very specific scenario and you need to be strategic with it. It’s not for when you’re in direct competition with someone at a given time. It’s for when you are already ahead, so you have the ability look back and drag others up with you. Helping others should not come at the expense of your own progression. It is so important to be wise as I wrote in talk less, smile more.

For example, when I was still considering whether I wanted to be a solicitor or barrister. I was fortunate enough to secure a mini pupillage and this led to attending an event where I had the amazing opportunity to speak to the awe inspiring Baroness Hale.

I really wanted to absorb all her knowledge and understand how she as a woman had smashed the patriarchy and succeeded in such a male dominated field. And she gave me a whole wealth of advice which all these years later, I still draw upon when making life choices. They help me place myself in the best position for success.

Baroness Hale is clearly already ahead of me, she has no reason to close the door to me. I am not her competitor. Likewise, my mentor was a whole year ahead of me, she had completed those modules and already gotten her grades. We were not academic competitors.

This is not to invalidate the wider issues that due exist in society. But I feel like it is so easy to blame “The System” for all the problems because its an abstract entity far away. But what if you are part of the problem?

It’s just me, Dammy, there’s space in the elevator for you


Check your privilege

About a year ago, I took a Buzzfeed quiz called “how privilege are you?“. It was during exam season and fellow procrastinators, will know how enticing these quizzes can be when they pop up on your timeline especially when you’re avoiding writing that essay you’ve been working on all day.

So I took the quiz and I think I got approximately 47%  of the privilege in the quiz. Which is not particularly high but is definitely not that low either.

According to the Oxford dictionary Privilege is…

A special right, advantage, or immunity granted or available only to a particular person or group.

Therefore, when you think about it anyone can experience privilege in some shape or form.

For example, I experience disadvantages for not being white on varying levels everyday. Whether this is by not being able to find a single colour to match my skin tone at the make up counter at my local drug store, or wondering how “random” the random selection of my Dad at security in the airport was, or the fact that I even to have to consider “does he even like black girls though?” when talking to a guy I like.

If you do not have to consider the impact of your skin colour then chances are you have privilege. For example, I saw this premise encapsulated in its purest form in an instagram post of one of my friends a couple of days ago. It was a photo of her posing in the back of a police car, smiling from ear to ear with the caption: “Reading about the police force is more exciting when you’ve been to a police department and realised how uncomfortable the back of a cop car is”.

Wow. I had to sit there for a minute pondering whether this was real life. The post just screamed insensitivity and privilege. As a white female, her experience with police in America was exciting – just an opportunity for a good insta post. Yet, considering the political context of police brutality and #Blacklivesmatter…it’s easy to see the disparity in experience. What is a fun experience for a white female is as a scary reality for many black men. That is white privilege for you.

And what was particularly farcical about the whole post is that she would most likely identify as a feminist. So as a female she is aware of the disadvantage women face yet, as a white female cannot quite tap into the disadvantage others face for not being white.

However, that’s the wonderful thing about intersectionality, it means you can experience privilege in one area but be losing out in other areas. And it is so important we understand the muli-faceted layers of disadvantage others might face when understanding our own privilege.

Intersectionality is a word that was coined by Kimberlé Crenshaw and has recently become increasingly popular, especially within the context of femism. In a nutshell, it explains that all of an individual’s separate identities come together to create their overall identity. This overall identity includes things like gender, race, social class, ethnicity, nationality, sexual orientation, religion, age and disability.

This just means that each individual has many layers of their life they have to deal with. Therefore, it is impossible to truly see each part e.g. race separately and it is important to look at these issues holistically. This allows us to examine the varying dimensions and degrees of discrimination people face.

I tend to think of it as a jigsaw puzzle to make it a bit easier to process the concept…


As a black female, there are definitely opportunities that are unavailable to me because I am not white or male. So often I suffer from racism and sexism. Likewise, there are so many ways that I am privileged. For example, I am able bodied, I come from a good background, I am cisgendered, heterosexual….the list could go on into all the nuances of the ways I benefit merely by belonging to a certain group.

Yet it is important to note that you cannot have privilege in an area you are disadvantaged. For example, you cannot have black privilege or female privilege or poor privilege. As these groups do not have institutional power. Likewise, privilege is not necessarily special treatment but things you get as a right, things you are entitled to purely because you belong to a certain demographic.

Acknowledging all these things does not make me a bad person. For the longest time, certain peers in secondary school would make me feel bad because of the advantages they perceived I had. I never did, but I always wanted to explain to them the sacrifices my parents have made for me to have a the opportunities I have today. All the missed Christmases, the late pick ups from school and the endless stress. But now I realise I don’t have to explain or make excuses for my privilege, I just need to have an awareness of it. And use the privilege that I experience to bring others up.

It’s the realisation that some people have to work a lot more to get what I often take for granted. This doesn’t mean I’m not working hard, it just means others have to work harder. For example, I wrote the post University: to go on not to go, a while ago. I’m so pleased it was able to help so many people but retrospectively, the post oozes out with privilege.

I worked so hard for my A level results and to get into University in general so of course, if someone else insinuated that I did not get there through sheer determination and diligence, it would be easy to see why I would be offended. However, every single member of my family have gone to University so for me, going to University was an expectation. Yet, lots of people do not have this privilege.

I imagine this must be what it must feel like for some of the Trump voters in America who keep being told about their “white privilege” yet feel like they’ve been left behind. It’s hard to see the privilege gained from your race when you’re struggling to pay rent or buy food. And then you see these seemingly disadvantaged immigrants in better jobs. This “white privilege” rhetoric can be difficult to understand when coming from a place of poverty. Yet being oppressed by poverty does not cancel out white privilege.

However, there are multiple oppressions at work and not all discrimination is the same. You cannot do comparative suffering. For example, you cannot compare the experience of white women to that of black men. Both groups suffer in many ways but it is not the same. 

I feel as though the reason people are so reluctant to accept their privilege is because we live in a culture of “one-upping” where we always want to out-do the last person. So let’s stop with the game of “whose suffered more?” as the hinders progression.Whilst I’m not trying to create a hierarchy of disadvantage, clearly some have a greater impact on your life that others.

So whilst I am not trying to demonise every white middle-classed cisgendered able bodied man because of the advantages they were born with. But it is so important to check your privilege. And by that, I mean you need to have an awareness of it.

Then take that awareness and do something about it. Educate yourself, talk about privilege no matter how uncomfortable it makes you, challenge the systems that privilege some and oppress others and become an an active ally, call people out on discrimination. Be aware and take action.

It’s me, Dammy, advantaged and disadvantaged all at the same time.


I am not your maid

So it has been over a year since I wrote Don’t Trust a Black Girl and even longer since I wrote The Everyday Racist. Collectively, those have been my most read posts and I am constantly surprised that they are still getting so many views and shares so long after they were written. I think it is so great that sharing my personal experiences of “blackness” have garnered the most interaction, because those type of posts are always the ones I tend to be the most nervous about and I spend the longest time hovering over the “publish” button.

But honestly, I am tired. I am so done with needing to talk about being black. Don’t get me wrong, this blog makes me so unbelievably happy and the “big issues” I tackle are my favourites. Yet, it is so tiring having to constantly think about being black. I genuinely (probably a little naively) thought that since writing The Everyday Racist, I would be done.

I was of the mentality that I could just be like, “Yo friends, racism still exists, these daily microaggressions against black people are harmful. Please stop doing these things. K, thanks, bye”. And then I could go about my merry way and dance into the sunset (well, I wasn’t quite this idealistic but you catch my drift).

That was until exactly 12 days ago and I had one of the most eye-opening racial experiences I have had in a long time. And this was when I truly realised the importance of instigating dialogue and utilising this platform to discuss race despite how uncomfortable it can and does make me feel.

So, it was by sister’s birthday and my family had come together to celebrate over the weekend in London. I made a vlog of the weekend here, and as you can see we had such a great time. We are hardly ever all together at the same time, so occasions like this are always so special.

Yet this one white American man nearly tarnished the whole memory for me. We were staying at the Hilton Hotel on Edgeware Road and I had gone to knock on my parent’s room to see if they were ready for breakfast (lol, they weren’t, classic mum and dad). And then on my way back to my hotel room, I was abruptly stopped in my tracks by the aforementioned white american man.

I am met with two towels which are thrust in my face. He then mumbles something about needing new towels, blah blah blah…

I stare at him confused. He then proceeds to place said towels in my hand and tells me that I need to come clean his room and change the towels. It still takes me a while to process what is going. Surely, it could not be, could it?

So I tentatively ask him: “You don’t think I am the maid, do you?”

He stops in his tracks, looks puzzled and then begins to laugh. He laughed. In between his guffaws, with a shrug of his shoulders, he merely asserts that he just assumed I was the maid.

As I sit here a couple of weeks after the incident, I can still feel the echoes of the burning behind my eyes and the heat on my skin as this man continued to laugh in my face at this “funny” situation. A laugh that evoked images of colonialism and slavery. A laugh that whispered the memory of subservience and the diaspora of a nation.

I boldly responded, “what about me made you assume I was the maid? Am I wearing a maid’s uniform? Am I pushing a maid’s trolley? What made you think I was a maid in the hotel rather than a guest”.

He had no response. No shame. No apology. Nothing. He just stood ambivalent to the magnitude of what he had just done.

I am not your maid…


My “maids” uniform…

The whole situation frustrated me and made me question how some people might perceive me. The issue was and is, what about seeing a young black woman approaching, made this white man jump to the conclusion that I could not be a guest at the hotel so I had to be the maid?

Interestingly, the following weekend it was my mum’s birthday and I met up in London with my family again (this time, staying at the Hilton hotel in Paddington) and in the afternoon we watched the movie Hidden Figures, about the black women who helped NASA send John Glenn into space.


It was such a great movie which I would definitely recommend for everyone to go and watch.  In the movie, there was a similar scene where Katherine G. Johnson brilliantly played by  Taraji P. Henson comes in for her first day at NASA and is handed a trash can to empty by a white man. She poignantly whispers: “I’m sorry. I’m … not the custodian.”

Of course, this black woman could not actually work at NASA in an academic capacity. Surely, she had to be the cleaner. Hidden Figures was set in 1961, it is now 2017. Whilst so much has changed since the 60’s, the journey is not over. If equality is the destination, then we are definitely not there yet. Usually racism today is not as overt as it used to be, modern day racism is much more nuanced as I wrote about in The Everyday Racist.

Yet, how can a situation so similar to one that happened in 1961, play out in 2017? I may be allowed to use the same bathrooms as my white counterparts but that does not mean I am equal. Whilst assumptions are still being made because of a persons skin colour, equality will never truly exist.

So don’t be that guy at the hotel, do not stereotype people. Stereotyping is harmful because it leads to largely unjustified and discriminatory decisions being made about a person solely because that person belongs to a certain demographic.

Do not be lazy. Stereotypes are the cowards way out of thinking critically and actually being present in situations. People naturally categorise people all the time based on arbitrary factors. I am acutely aware that I sometimes mentally do the same thing myself.

But just because we frequently do something does not make it the right thing to do. Together, we must unlearn these biases we hold against one and other. Regardless of whether they may seem to be a superficially positive entity or not.

All that hotel guest had to do was open his eyes and look at me, look beyond my skin colour at the actual situation and it would have been so clear that I was not the maid.

I get it, talking about equality all the time gets tiring. Trust me, I wish I lived in a world where I didn’t have to write about racism anymore. I wish being black did not feel like a heavy load that I have to carry everyday. Likewise, I understand that being constantly reminded of your privilege can be a tough pill to swallow.

In some ways, I definitely experience privilege myself – not everyone has the benefit of having two supportive and loving parents or can have cute weekends away so I know I have a lot to be thankful for. But it’s 2017 and black lives still matter, so let us keep moving forward.

It’s just me, Dammy, and I am not your maid


Black History Month

So I wrote about the importance of Black History Month for The Boar, which is my university paper. But as it is such an important topic, I thought I would post about it on here as well.


In the United Kingdom Black History Month has been celebrated in the month of October since 1987. Every year when Black History Month approaches, the same question resurfaces: Why isn’t there a White History Month?

This argument against Black History Month has become increasingly prevalent with people claiming that it is unfair that one sole race gets a whole month to celebrate their history.

The same people who make these criticisms against Black History Month tend to also be the ones who appropriate the #BlackLivesMatter hashtag and argue in favour of #AllLivesMatter instead. However, I would argue that for similar reasons to the #AllLivesMatter supporters, those who are against Black History Month have entirely missed the point.

Having a Black History Month does not attempt to suggest that white history is less important. On the contrary, Black History Month merely showcases that black history is just as important as white history.

Black History Month largely has a dual-purpose: education and empowerment.

It recognises and rewards the contributions of people from an African or Caribbean descent throughout history. Its purpose is to counteract the whitewashing of our curriculum and ensure that the narrative of marginalised groups does not go unheard.

This is incredibly important for everyone, regardless of your skin colour. Black History Month attempts to provide a more holistic and accurate representation of the roles Black People played in the past and fill in the gaps in our knowledge thus, preventing ignorance.

This month long celebration does not attempt to take anything away from white people neither does it try to make white people any less special.

Every month is White History Month. 

White History is the dominant voice; our text books are filled with White History and we are primarily given History from the perspectives of white people.

Yet, at school we mainly just learn about Slavery and Martin Luther King and this tends to be entirety of the “Black History” we are taught. Without Black History Month, many of the contributions black people have made over the years would go unacknowledged.

Likewise, failure to appreciate the importance of the involvement of Black people heightens racial tension and makes cohesion difficult. How can we say and truly believe that all races are equal when the History we are taught presents one race as inferior to the other?

Cumulatively this lack of Black History can also lead to the internalisation of racism where people of colour feel self-hatred and become subservient to their white counterparts which in turn further facilitates their marginalisation. Black History Month is supposed to empower.

So rather than asking why we do not have a White History Month perhaps a better question would be, why do we even need to have a Black History Month to begin with?

In an ideal world, we would not need a Black History Month. In an ideal world, we would not need an #BlackLivesMatter hashtag because every week I would not switch on the News and see that another black life had been lost to police brutality.

However, right now Black History Month and other similar expressions of Black Pride such as the BET awards, the “Black Girls Rock” and “Black Power” movement are a step in the right direction.

It’s just me, Dammy, learning more about Black History


Don’t trust a black girl…

Last term I went to a talk titled the “Politics of black hair” by a fabulous new group at my university called ‘The Black Women’s project’. I left the talk feeling emotionally charged and since then I felt I had a lot to say about this topic. In this post I will be discussing some of the trials and tribulations of black hair and tackling some of the issues revolving it. I will not be assuming everyone knows the ins and outs of black hair so will try and explain it all as I go along to the best of my ability.

From braids to weaves to clip ins to cornrows, it is clear that I am always changing my hair. Last year I took a selfie every day and from that you can notice my varying hair styles. However, even this does not demonstrate the true extent of how much black hair can change.

I am sorry to break it to those of you who do not know, but when you see a black girl with a mane of curls or butt length blonde hair, it is not actually her hair. This is something many people don’t realise when they look at black celebrities such as Beyonce – yes, she is usually wearing a weave or a wig. (Weave = when you have your hair in cornrows against your head and get hair extensions sewn on top that).

derpin 8

I was so in love with my hair like this but but nope, none of it was actually mine…

Don’t trust a black girl

This is something my sister recently said to me. I was using clip-in hair extensions , that way I could decide whether or not I wanted my hair longer or shorter literally in a matter of seconds (Clip-in extensions: a weft of hair with hair slides on it that you can attach and blend with your own hair).

Many people probably do not really know exactly what my hair actually looks like. Even I don’t know what my real hair looks likes half of the time because it is usually in a protective style (Protective style: a hair style that you put your hair in to avoid excess handling, heat and to promote growth e.g cornrows)


My natural hair…

Over the years I feel like black hair has moved on from just being hair to being a political statement. I remember reading a news article online which argued that black girls were, “wearing oppression on their heads”. Whist I can see where the columnist was coming from in the sense that beauty standards  generally favour traits that are generally more common with other races e.g. long straight hair. However, I feel like it has gone too far and is actually putting women against each other. How you have your hair is an active decision many black girls have to face all the time.

Black hair as a subject matter has always been prevalent which is evident in the more contemporary cases such as Chris Rock’s documentary ‘Good Hair’, the emphasis on the hair of the Williams sisters and Michelle Obama. Just take the gymnast Gabby Douglas for an example. I remember being so proud to be black when I watched her secure the title of Olympic double gold medal champion. However, what did the media have to say about her? They criticised her hair. She had won two gold medals, smashed records and it was her hair that you found trending on social media.


The infamous hairstyle that gained such a high level of media attention…

This is further demonstrated through the amount of opposition that Beyonce faced over her daughter Blue Ivy’s hair which she chose to leave in its natural state. It went so far that a petition on was created  to get Beyonce to do her daughter’s hair. And more recently the focus on Zendaya and her choice to wear locs, a look which has now been immortalized on a barbie doll.


Blue Ivy’s hair…

Personally, the first time I decided to do something to my natural hair was for a production I was in. Aged fourteen I got cast in a production of ‘Hairspray’ and my natural hair just did not fit the part.


Me as a Dynamite in Hairspray the musical…

This is something that black girls face from each other too. Why do we judge and critique each other for our hair style choices? For the past year and a half, I have been transitioning. And no, I do not mean I am in the process of turning into a man but this is also the term for when you have relaxed your hair and you decide to go back to your natural hair (Relaxed = Chemically straightened).

I did not realise it then but I had developed a complex about not being ‘black enough’ and subconsciously I felt that having an Afro would make me more black. Black women should be propping each other up and stop the development of reverse snobbery. Regardless of whether you choose to have natural hair or processed hair or whatever, black girls all face the same struggle. Why don’t we stand together? Enough with the #TeamNatural culture. I am all for black pride but not at the expense of putting others down. Is it not ultimately about self love and what makes you happy?

This problem of black hair goes so much further and reflects general societal outlooks towards different races.

What is the difference between a white and black woman deciding to use hair extensions or braided hair?

The recent marketisation of predominantly black features such as cornrows is a serious problem in modern society. It seems illogical to embrace black culture but not black people.  This is cultural appropriation. The key difference between me choosing to use hair extensions and when Kylie Jenner had braided hair is the variance in the power dynamic between the racial groups. This is the difference between appropriation and assimilation.  It is impossible to appropriate features of a dominant racial group who already experience privilege based on being the favoured aesthetics.


Kylie Jenner’s cornrows…

So I guess this post was just a little insight into black hair and some of the associations with it. And remember, never trust a black girl! Would love to read your comments with your thoughts on the topic.

It’s just me, Dammy, and I am so much more than my hair.


The Everyday Racist

This is the second post in my “Big Issues” series. Please click here to be taken to my first post where I discuss charity and fundraising.

The slave trade was abolished in the United Kingdom in 1833 and in the United States in 1865. We are taught about the civil rights trail blazers such as Martin Luther King, Malcolm X and Rosa Parks in our History classes. Yet it is now 2015 and can we honestly say that racism and discrimination is over?

Sometimes you just have to face the facts – maybe you are racist.

No, you might not go around all dressed up in a white hood carrying a burning cross like the Ku Klux Klan did. Nor, will you go with your family to watch a black man swinging from a tree after he has been lynched and you probably do not use racist terminology either.


The KKK…

When the word “racism” comes up, everyone seems to freak out and you probably get those aforementioned scenarios in your head. Yes, that is racism. However, not all racism is this extreme. We might all be allowed to sit wherever we want on a bus and use the same bathroom but the struggle is not over yet. We must get rid of these 1950’s conceptions of racism.



There is a new group of people which I like to call the “Everyday racists”. These are the type of racists who look at the world through racially biased lenses and get away with saying or doing as they please usually without judgement or repercussions. Due to the covertness of their behaviour, it is really hard for victims of this type of racism to speak out. These everyday racists probably don’t realise they are being racist either.

8 signs you might be an Everyday Racist

1. But you speak so well / you don’t act black at all / You are not what I was expecting…

Is this supposed to be a compliment? There is no such thing as a black accent or a black way of behaving, only stereotypes. A person’s speech will generally adjust to the part of the world they spend the most time in. There are other factors such as social class, religion, etc that also shape a persons behaviour due to the way they were brought up.


What does being black look or sound like?

2. Can you teach me how to twerk?

This is a seemingly innocent question to ask but the problem is that you are making assumptions about a person based on the colour of their skin. This example, could easily have been substituted for, “do you love fried chicken/watermelon?” or anything like that.

Some of these seemingly inoffensive questions or assumptions date back to the times of Jim Crow laws where black people were thought of as simple minded and made into caricatures. The issue is not the question itself but the reasoning behind asking it. If you can put, “because you are black” before your question then chances it is probably everyday racism.


Taylor Swift ‘twerking’ in her Shake It Off music video..

3. That is such a hard name to pronounce, can I just call you…?

Every time you do not make the effort and choose instead to abbreviate a person of colours name without their invitation or call them something completely different, what you are really doing is stripping them of their identity and thus reducing their self-worth. Similarly, you are also suggesting that a certain type of name is superior to their name.

4. But I am just not attracted to black girls/boys…

This has recently become a big issue. It seems like you either have people not wanting to date black people at all or people fetishizing and hypersexualising black skin.This is a really difficult form of everyday racism to unpack. Of course you are entitled to choice when dating and I am aware that you can have a preference.

However, if racism is when based on your prejudice or preconceived ideas about a racial group you participate in a discriminatory act then deciding not to date someone solely based on the colour of their skin is not a sexual preference but actually a form of racism.

You are grouping an entire race together as if they are all the same. There is nothing wrong if you have only ever dated within your race. However, by categorically saying you would never date a black person you are suggesting that there is something wrong with the entire racial group. It is like holding up a sign that says ‘no blacks allowed’.

black women

A few of my favourite black female celebrities…

With black people coming in all different shapes, sizes and with different features, personalities and backgrounds, the only shared factor between most black people is the melanin pigmentation of our skin. After all Lupita Nyong’o, Beyoncé, Viola Davis and Oprah Winfrey for example are black but all look and act very differently. Then it is the black skin you are not attracted to.

Don’t even get me started on beauty standards; when did being beautiful equate to being white?

5. When you look with suspicion at a person of colour driving an expensive car or spending a lot of money

This example is not limited to the scenario of spending money or having a nice car. This form of everyday racism is any time where you treat a person of colour differently to how you would treat anyone else. If you are being excessively suspicious of a black person, think to yourself, why am I feeling this way? Would I behave the same if they weren’t black? It is every time you clutch your bag extra tightly or cross the road when you see a black person approaching. This is a problem that is reflected in the judicial system as well.

stop and search

Comparing the likelihood of being stopped and searched: Black vs White

6. Refusing to see ‘race’ and being colour blind

This colour-blind attitude is becoming increasingly popular with younger people as they try to turn away from the institutionalised oppression their white forefathers caused. I feel like this is just plain lazy. Of course you can see the colour of my skin! You have eyes don’t you?

Suggesting that you don’t is harmful as it makes you unwilling to see the problem of racism. Likewise, it effectively demonstrates white privilege- well aren’t you lucky that you do not have to consider the colour of your skin and how people treat you because of it.


Being aware of white privilege does not mean you have to feel guilty about it. After all, everyone benefits from some kind of privilege…

7. Referring to all black people as African

Africa is not a country and not all black people are from Africa. When you do not bother to distinguish what part of Africa someone comes from or which part you went on holiday to you are being so ignorant.


Africa is a continent not a country…

8. My best friend is black so I can’t be racist / but my other black friend said I could…

Just because you have a black friend does not mean you can’t be racist. The fact you are using that as a defense in itself is offensive.


Winston from the TV sitcom ‘New Girl’: The token black friend…

Likewise, just because you have one black friend who says something is okay does not mean all black people are going to think it is okay. Not all black people are the same and it is ridiculous to act as if they are. Your black friend is not the spokesperson for all things black. You will probably find a whole bunch of black people who strongly disagree with what I write about on here.

These are just a few examples of Everyday Racism and this is definitely not a comprehensive list. You may be thinking, why is everyday racism a problem? After all, you are not actively persecuting a racial group.  Looking at the bigger picture there are seemingly more pressing global issues that we should focus on.

However, everyday racism makes racial cohesion impossible and leads to the systemic discrimination against people of colour. Furthermore, cumulatively everyday racism can also lead to the internalisation of racism where people of colour feel self-hatred and become subservient to their white counterparts which in turn further facilitates their marginalisation.


Because black lives matter…

Why did the Ferguson case happen? Why are more black people stopped and searched on the streets? Why is there still a glass ceiling in the workplace for people of colour? Why do so many people of colour bleach their skin to make it lighter? Why do you hardly ever see dark women in magazines? Why are there a disproportionate amount of men of colour in prison?

Because everyday racism still exists.

Just take a minute to think about your actions, it is not necessarily about being political correct but about treating everyone with the same level of humanity.

It’s just me, Dammy, it’s not as black and white as you may think.