The Cost of Colour: Why the Fight for George Floyd is the Fight for Black People Everywhere


Every black person navigating the world has had to deal with racism and have the colour of their skin used as a tool for discrimination, a hindrance, a divider, as a denier of opportunity and a reason to disregard your right to live and breathe. 

There is an assumption that Africans living in the continent where black is the default majority, do not understand the intricacies of racism or the targeting of people by the colour of their skin. But racism and anti-blackness is not a novel thing to Africa. My grandmother and her generation can tell you about it. The generation that came before her can tell you about it. We, here, today and now, can tell you about it.

And so to those people, I say this - speak to my 93 year old grandmother who has never left her African village. She has experienced and understands fully, better than most, the wielding of white power. She has faced abuse at the hands of a white man. She has been disenfranchised by a system that was set up to make her black as different to white as possible and to beat her down because of the colour of her skin and assumed intellectual abilities. She has been alienated from her land and robbed of her dignity, her freedom, her choices.  

She lived through imperialism and colonization.

Her mother and father and the generations that came before her lived through the stealing of her relatives to be sold as slaves. She, having never left her country, can tell you a thing or two about white supremacy and imperialism and the fight against it. Anti-blackness is not exclusively experienced by black People outside Africa.

We have all inherited this generational trauma and continue to fight this fight that our forebears began. We are confronted by our blackness every day we interact with the world. I can guarantee you, that you do not need to teach a black person anywhere in the world about racism, we understand it fully because we live it. 

Over the last couple of days I have seen attempts to try and compartmentalize black people suffering to enable some decide how best to address each kind and how to approach each fight but at the end of the day, black suffering across the world is the same - rooted in systemic racism, colonialism, slavery and imperialism. I appreciate that depending on where a black person is, the dynamics are different due to the particular histories, reflective of the different ways in which African people were uprooted from the continent and scattered across the world, but at the core of it is a deep-seated anti-blackness.

Using these different experiences to further divide black people and to legitimize one struggle over the other is counterproductive. Racism is alive and kicking everywhere, America is just the catalyst at this time and we see you, we feel with you, we suffer with you, we understand and we fully support your struggle as we also fight our own demons. 

“No matter how big a nation is, it is no stronger than its weakest people, and as long as you keep a person down, some part of you has to be down there to hold him down, so it means you cannot soar as you might otherwise.” – Marian Anderson

And to white People - the allies and would be allies - this is not the time to ask us to devote time and resources to educate you. This is your history too. These are your systems. There is no history of a black man that does not involve the white man. Go back to your history and learn about how your privilege and wealth stems from the abuse of the black body. Black People did not steal themselves from the continent, white people stole them. Black People did not colonize themselves, white People did. Black people did not set up systems that disenfranchise the Black person, white People did. 

“If you have come to help me you are wasting your time. But if you recognize that your liberation and mine are bound up together, we can walk together.” – Lila Watson

When you finally realize you are at the core of this history and the black man’s suffering; that this suffering begun with you, you will stop seeing yourselves as outsiders looking in wondering what the hell happened. Our histories are intricately linked. So for anyone asking for black reading recommendations, please go back, read and interrogate your own truthful history. The real history, not the white-washed history that makes you believe in your saviorism. You will find us there. 


A Black African living on the African continent. 

#justiceforGeorgeFloyd (US)

#justiceforAdamaTraoré (France)

#justiceforYassinMoyo (Kenya)

#justiceforBellyMujinga (UK)

#justiceforblackpeople (All over the world)





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