Will you still love me tomorrow?
We've been very busy at brap recently. I’m guessing this has been the same for many people working in equalities, especially if they're working on racism. I’m grateful for it. I feel that some people have been woken up from a very long sleep – and it’s good that people are connecting with a willingness to do something.
There is, however, an inherent conflict within in me. I think about Mr George Floyd’s death and I feel saddened that the urgency that we are currently experiencing can be directly attributed to the murder of another Black man.
The requests are very urgent. 'Can you do something now, please?' 'Can you do something next week...?' There's a new-found appetite for equalities learning. But how much of this urgency is to do with being seen to do something, rather than investing long-term in anti-racism work?
I also notice that, inevitably, the urgency is in decline. That organisations no longer feel they are in the public eye and that the world is no longer looking at them to make an appropriate, politically correct response.
So as much as I believe that this is an opportunity, an awakening for many, I’d like to ask you to think about what you want to do and why you want to do it. Racism isn’t going anywhere. I hope so much that I'm wrong, but I suspect more people will die unnecessarily and more lives will be blighted by it before it is done. It requires more of you. It requires you to keep anti-racist work on your priority list. I’d also like to remind you that racism is well served by these ‘one off' approaches that tick the box, but don’t really shift people’s mindsets or behaviours. If you want to begin dismantling racism, it will be slow and steady work. It will need to happen over the lifetime of your career and you will need to convince many others that it is worthwhile.
So I hope we're still talking in December – then I’ll know you're serious.