"In 2020, we also encountered some of the largest protests across the world at any one time. It was sparked by death and racism. We couldn’t hide behind going to school, college, the pub or just’ talking it away’ at work. It was staring us right in the face. It came to the fore in ways we couldn’t have dreamt of. The situation in the US they tried to sweep under a carpet came to light, it’s not to underestimate the truth and love there is in all of us but emotion and quick defensiveness can cause a hindrance. It can block the light. The best way is to allow the truth to come to the surface and to deal with it in a good and truthful way to allow us to move to another level of existence. Colour exists in our minds, on what we are taught to see and feel.
We were threatened with this Covid-19 threat, isn’t it big enough to make us one being? This was an external threat to all human beings. We are one species, yet still we separate ourselves. Animals do not separate each other by colour, they stick to their species! This is a time to rebuild, rethink, rejuvenate as I’m afraid that if we don’t learn our lessons, we may have to go through more trauma to relearn. I hope we get it right now. It’s a world problem not just of one culture. Today writing this, the sun is shining and all I can think of is LOVE, whatever shade, we are ONE. One earth, one love. What can we do in our worlds to make it better?’" Devon
Ethics v rules. It used to be a rule that women couldn’t vote, it used to be a rule that Black people couldn’t vote, we were seen as sub human, therefore ‘why did they need to vote?’. Someone had to break the rules and say ‘this is not right’. We ALL need to stand up and speak out for what is not right.
Black people’s spirituality and strength, got Us, our descendents, through the traumatic slave centuries and we survived. We had a depth to Us, a belief, our truth. We were standing together on the shoulders of our ancestors believing that some day we shall make it back home. We cannot go back in time but we can rethink, re-educate, re-imagine and re-position.
Some ask us, why we keep ‘going on about it’, so I wanted to break down the pain and trauma our ancestors went through across 20+ generations, shaping the DNA, emotion and economics of who we are today; our future.
Just for reference
The transatlantic slave triangle trade trafficked approx 12 million slaves and is said to have caused approx 10 – 40 million African deaths, which has been difficult to track as not all were registered until they were sold. This also tries to account for the numerous potential future unborn generations who should have been born in their native land. Now imagine even a fraction of this happening to your family…
The trauma we went through
We were stolen or sold into slavery; imagine the betrayal from ‘our own’; the upheaval; even guilt of not fighting back but laying low in order to survive, while they took our riches; knowledge; minerals; artefacts and ransacked our homes, abused, raped and killed those who did resist.
We were taken from the lands we knew, the food we ate, which in turn changed our DNA and medical history. We survived on meagre foods given whilst crammed into caves (imagine a hostel room with two bunk beds, so 4 beds to sleep on. Now imagine that same space with 10 - 20 stone beds and one hole to do your business in front of everyone, including woman’s monthly period; the shame; the lack of dignity and pride.
Then transitioning, onto ships (the less space the larger the cargo) heading for the unknown; suffering from seasickness and malnutrition. Some slaves were jumping off the side of the ship; others whipped and beaten in front of the others, for trying to protest; others abused; raped; sodomised; the shame; the anger; the mouth bitten hard not to show emotion or protest; repressing any feeling in order to cope.
We were given a new religion, brainwashing us into being meek and mild; the sin and guilt trip that remains in many churches, generations later. They branded us like cows with the slave masters logo and gave us new names, often the slave masters, so any sense of ancestral heritage was slowly being stripped away. We were often sold again and split up from any friends we made on the sea journey, taken to new lands and told to work all day, every day, for absolutely no pay.
We then had to speak a new language and tend to children and a house that wasn’t ours whilst being subservient because we saw runaways who were brought back being punished in front of our eyes. Whilst male studs were groomed just to breed and sold for good money; women, boys and girls taken at any time to satisfy the masters or overseers needs. So we decide to hold our tongue; seething anger with nowhere to go except into our internal organs. Imagine that you had children, (sometimes from the slave owner’s seed), through all of this, who are taken away from you and sold; breaking bonds; heartbroken again; the pain of loss and helplessness experienced over and over again.
Laws and papers being written on how to contain slaves by putting male against female; young v old; light v dark, to keep them in line and fighting amongst themselves. There was abundant propaganda being pumped out, to ‘prove’ that we were subhuman and savages, so Christians felt it was okay for slavery to continue; despite Africa having engineers; farmers; seamstresses; mathematicians in abundance. Imagine living and working for the family who murdered your family. Imagine, slaves hung on trees ‘strange fruit’ for no good reason or any reason. So it should appear to have been a great ‘hallelujah’, when freedom finally came but we still had no land; we were still working for the family for pittance; no workers rights; no union; no vote; no voice.
Meanwhile UK slave owners were compensated with £20 million from the British treasury, (the equivalent of £70 billion in 2020) a bigger pay out than the banks bail out in 2008, the amount only being fully paid back around 2015! Plus, there was still money to be made as Europe continued fighting over the lands in the Caribbean, Africa and the USA, carving up the lands they stole to see who could still get rich by colonising them, including my immediate ancestral home of Jamaica. It was run by the British until independence in 1962, so we could have spoken Spanish had Spain insisted it belong to them.
Around 1945 the Motherland for Jamaicans was still Britain and she was calling for help after World War II, from their commonwealth countries. Many qualified people saved their money to go to ‘streets paved with gold’ speaking English and having a great education ‘courtesy of colonialisation’. They arrived in the UK and were STILL called names and treated as subhuman; having to take menial jobs and homes because of the racism, prejudice and discrimination. We were full circle back to having to hold our tongue again, lest we lose our jobs. Imagine seething with anger when we were also not welcome in the very churches where christians who had indoctrinated us to join were now rejecting us because of the colour of our skin. The irony.
What pain, what transition, what trauma, within our generational DNA and we, as a people are still loving by nature; laughing and joking about ourselves and each other as a means of release from pain. We don’t want revenge (God help the world if we did), just equality; the sharing of wealth; land; riches. How resilient we had to be, how many transitions did we have to cope with? How many times did we have to reinvent ourselves and re-imagine? How much inner strength did it take to survive and now thrive, from where we are coming from?
Now ask me again, why we still go on about this and why we still, now, all can be silent no more. We’ve bitten our lip; suffered in silence; pushed down pain and held our tongue for so long. Surely, after 450 plus years later, 2020 SHOULD be the new dawning.
We are a strong and proud people, full of vibrancy, colour and power which no slave triangle could deny us.
Hear our voice.