You’re not entitled to an A grade in understanding the lived black experience with a C in effort.

The analogy is ever relevant and feel free to share.

Coming to class without having done any pre-work is a waste of everyone’s time. Coming to class without having done any pre-work and expecting to contribute and be taken seriously is laughable.

I’m black, so my lived experience ‘is’ the pre-work, but at the same time, I’m not Black Canadian or Black American, so I still have to do the minimum to ‘enter the chat’. If you’re not black, being attached to a black body isn’t your cliff/spark note shorthand entry to the class either. I had the same schooling as you and for all my GCSEs and A-levels these things were not on the syllabus (in any meaningful way) until I got to @livuni and studied American, Black American and Caribbean history and politics.

It informed me of so much, it made me embarrassed to remember that my mum suggested #theblackjacobins as a book to read during school and I pushed it back thinking it was fiction — such is the ubiquitousness of white supremacy.

This work has always been an inextricable part of my job (as any ex-colleague of mine reading this would attest). I’m now doing the first job where it is ‘the job’, so there have been many years of free labour outside of (and sometimes against) my job description.

Heading up 2 faculties of predominantly non-white schools in London showed me again the curriculum is deficient in its understanding of black (specifically British) history. — For example, how can a (now optional) unit of enslavement deal with an American experience of it when for one; about 50% of enslaved Africans ended up in Brazil/Colombia, 30% to the Caribbean and 20% to the USA, and for two; the black population in the UK is either of Caribbean or African descent. If it were a book or a film it’d get very poor ratings as the plot would have so many holes, especially when the last third of the movie would introduce characters such as Thomas Clarkson and William Wilberforce but they wouldn’t feature in the segment before which would focus on the ‘life of a slave on an American plantation’.

The points remain — understand that we’re all coming to this conversation from a place of having to actively learn it. Understand that the state/private school education you had did not focus on it, therefore did not equip you to discuss it. Understand that I had to pay to learn this (so why should you get it for free). Understand that oftentimes you don’t/won’t/can’t understand and that you need to just shhh and read/listen.

A lot of our tiredness comes from you not having done the work, but believing that you are superior in the conversation. And for my Brits, in particular, that’s how you have been historically fucked up. Britain never saw enslavement/antebellum/Jim Crow/island rebellions or uprisings first hand. The spoils were brought cleanly over.

It’s why many believe they only have to work at a C grade and feel like they’re entitled to an A.

Read a flipping book. Do some work. Humble yourself.



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