Category Archives: London Diaries Blog

A message to the Bigots in the comment section

Dear Bigot in the comment section,

Black history month this year is about celebration, a time to mourn, a time to look back and reflect on our past.

It’s a month for us to celebrate on our own terms and not the terms dictated by company diversity policies or the government.

Our stories are not there to make you feel uncomfortable, our stories are not there to divide or create racial tensions, our stories are there for people to understand the world through our eyes. For a few minutes of the day through an article or book, you get to understand our experiences and the battles we have fought silently through every corporation and loudly after every act of violence on us, whilst you could comfortably turn a blind eye.

But under every article, documentary, interview or film sharing the black experience in the UK, I see a comment section of denial from you, rejection and straight up bigotry.

How dare you dismiss our pain, our feelings, our lived experience, because you are not elevated enough to comprehend a different perspective from your own.

The black experience is a human experience which deserves to be documented.

Yet you choose to reject it because you don’t understand it. Your bigoted comments create chaos to disrupt moments of valuable teaching; diminishing the existence of injustice and blaming oppression on the oppressed because it fails to fit into your world of logic.

I have been living my whole life through your Eurocentric lense, seeing depictions of myself as violent, aggressive, uneducated. I’ve watched my history be reduced down to slavery and subservience because it fits into a narrative which makes sense in your world. Yet, I dealt with this falsification by choosing to work harder to exceed the low expectations society had of me.

I was always taught that your skin doesn’t determine what type of person you are, but it determines the way people treat you.

So why when we are trying to share these lived experiences to educate, bring awareness and help others who have dealt with the same issues, not to feel so alone, why do you seek to destroy this progress?

We do not want to make you feel guilty, and your guilt can only be a reflection of your own internal battles.

Despite the wrongs of your ancestors past, I as a black women can still accept you in the present as an individual, tied only to your present actions and words, why can I not be treated the same or even speak out about my mistreatment?

I don’t have a chip on my shoulder, I actually walk through life giving people the benefit of the doubt, naively seeing only the good in them. I work hard to lift the voices of the underrepresented or those who have experienced injustice, as I believe equally their voices matter as much as anyone else’s, but if their experience have anything remotely to do with racism, the window of timing on the issue is so small because you don’t want me to talk about it and my question is, why?

Racism is nothing but a social construct, which means someone is benefitting from its existence and I can tell you now, racists you are not the ones benefitting from this divide.

I do not believe racism will destroy us, but what will destroy us is how we choose to deal with it and heal from it.

Again, racism needs to be an area in which we heal from on both sides. The psychological and the physical effects it can have on either side can be detrimental and whilst we sit fighting over the very skin that connects us all, the world is crumbling beneath us.

God is watching us all be deceived by this illusion of indifference because of our egos and pride. We all need to let go of this illusion of indifference because it is stopping us from understanding one another.

Every group has their own story and no story is more or less important than the other.

A London State Of Mind: Mask Mandatory

This city has always been such a fake concept to me.

Like a simulation of a mad scientists dream of dropping millions of people from different tribes onto one fragment of a small island. Selling them a dream, that any opportunity on this island will make them wealthy enough to live like a king.

People migrate in the floods for their opportunity, even risking their lives. They see higher salaries, bigger buildings and headquarters of their favorite companies.

While the scientist sits back and watches them fight over this hidden capital until they realize, they were holding the capital in their minds all along.

The irony behind this mandatory rule to wear a mask is people have been wearing a mask here for years!

In London you can truly be whoever you wish to portray. Its all about symbolism. London in itself symbolizes capital and, power and wealth – therefore by association of you living here, you must also be that, no?

When really its all smoke and mirrors. Most million pound properties are just investments with no tenants and with higher living costs and a minority of salaries to match, the residents here are struggling like the rest of the country.

Then you have the subtle micro aggression’s, the death stares in the boardroom and the blissful ignorance of HR and higher management which adds to the layers of unhappiness and quality of life.

There are many shallow and insecure individuals here who share a common language. Usually due to their lack of original thought, they speak in pompous tongue of recitals of academic quotes and references. When someone lacks true substance here, they always more than make up for it in academic achievements.

Yes, yes, yes, I know, I must preface my bluntness with ‘I’m not talking about everyone……’ but you know exactly who im talking about!

Unfortunately, the true innovators are labelled as disruptors – which in itself has so many connotations. But you’ll find these groups of the self made are silenced by their lack of experience or contacts or family connections, but luckily for them, the wonderful internet has evened the playing field. You can find them on Youtube or The London Real.

Passive aggressive behavior is a shared language towards minorities and Brexiteers protest against the Europeans who serve them drinks………..

This is London.

A city where your quality of life is gambled on a table of sinking industries and coronavirus government rescue packages. When all you truly need is a Windsor accent to convince the masses you actually know enough to rule the Country.

The longer I get to grasps with the bizzare social dynamics here -the more recognisable the fragments of purposely crafted social engineering appear like red flags in a green field.

Brixton, for example, a historically Black Caribbean district in the Borough of Lambeth, is now a gentrified rabbit hole of wine bars and gourmet dining, the carribeans can no longer afford to buy in.

The district has welcomed new residents of ‘woke’ white people and hipsters who hope to live next door to Rastaman Leroy. But with rent prices sky rocketing its more likely they’ll live next to Dylan – the PHD Music teacher who likes to have casual smokes on the weekend.

Now when someone says ‘Oh, I live in Brixton’, they really want you to have this instant profile in your mind of someone pretty liberal with a diverse group of friends. When really – even their postcode is yet another mandatory mask of, ‘Hey, I’m super tolerant, look I live in Brixton’.

But we are not talking about Brixton…….or Dylan.

We are also discussing the educational institutions in London which have become a breeding ground for oppression of free thought and a solid foundation for old white male patriarchy.

Views of opposition against the opinions of the ruling white male lecturer, teaching a class of naive minded book suckers, that his line of teaching may be conducive of a hostile environment to the migrant girl or international student sat quietly upset in the corner, is highly unwelcomed.

Or if you are not privvy to the racial jokes made by the male director of your company who would make a point of coming to your desk to make you uncomfortable on purpose, just to put you in your place – well, your just don’t have a sense of humor.

This is just a London state of Mind.

Its a state of mind where unplanned social interactions set off a robotic malfunctions causing a whole system breakdown. Everything is super planned so people can in fact remember to put their masks on.

Shards of glass insults, racial jokes and projected insecurities fly towards you and if your wearing your mask – nobody realises just how much you hurt until you get home and cry your eyes out.

Another sick day coming up!

You spend most of your time stitching up your open cuts – walking around in layers of plasters; bound to the ‘othered group’ by shared economic and cultural constructs which are misunderstood to those whom London is their playground.

I guess this is also the reason why I have taken so long to post. As I have been dealing with this inner conflict of falling in line and throwing on a mask or taking what can be a very lonely path of indifference and free thought.

I guess in London I’m classed as a disruptor – but for me, I dont and wont ever be forced to wear a mask to make you feel comfortable.

The Bridge of horrors

Towering skyscrapers surround the Waterloo bridge with beaming rays of iridescent lights.

After midnight, the buildings take centre stage; morphing themselves into a dazzling spectacle of shiny glass cylinders.

Just imagine the sight of multiple buildings emerging from the depths of the concrete and illuminating off the dark waters.

With the backdrop of the velvet blue sky, the whole landscape made the night almost perfect.

Well, almost.

It was so close……

But as always………London snaps me back into reality – in the form of a human crisis that catches me completely off guard.

Stopping mid run behind me, a middle aged man pressed pause on his midnight run, to unleash a colossal round of “SCREAMS OF RAGE!”

His screams were so loud and sudden, everybody froze around him like statues as he slowly walked towards the edge of the bridge.

The atmosphere was filled with horror because the screams were so violent it heightened concern of this mans safety and what the man was about to do, especially as we were on the Bridge!

Yet nobody dared move and nobody dared approach him. I guess we shared the same though of not wanting to scare him, yet wanting to be close enough to save him.

The handful of civilians surrounding him waited, but for what?

All we knew is that he was completely unaware of our presence.

Some passers by slowly observed the scene, staring at the man holding onto the bridge and facing the direction of the Thames.

The moment he straightened up, he became aware of the watchers around him.

Cautiously, he backed away from the bridge and continued his jog.

We all looked at each other with a sigh of relief and as if someone pressed play on life, we all just went our separate ways. The surrounding sounds became louder and the moment of horror had now passed.

After all, London during the midnight hour has became infamous for witnessing a stranger on the brink of a mental breakdown.

In fact there are more police calls here in the night than there is at any other time of the day.

It was actually that night I gave the Waterloo Bridge the label, ‘Bridge of horrors!’

The midnight runners sudden “Screams of rage” really wasn’t that surprising.

In London, everyone is slightly more unhinged than it seems on the surface. The midnight runner is your manager, director or the guy on top being driven around in his town car.

Most professionals have built there whole existence around their careers. I mean, lets look at their social lives – most peoples relationships are a direct connection to their workplace and here it is very easy to blur the line.

Their successes are their promotions and their wealth is measured by economics.

Therefore, failure in their world means failure in life.

The breathtaking picture of the Thames you take selfies on, is also subject to multiple suicides throughout the year. In fact, in 2014 the suicide rates of those jumping and drowning in the Thames rose to 57%.

Although we all may feel the pressures of metropolitan life weighing on our shoulders, there is this unique detachment here that can eradicate simple forms of human empathy; that probe the question, ‘Are you okay?’ to the person plugged into their earphones, the timid girl behind a newspaper or the sunken head to the floor.

Why is it that we have to wait for something to happen to approach someone?

Why are we no longer present to those that need the help around us?

Or is this just a London state of mind?

THE STUDENT CON GAME

The deftly tones of the grand organ drown the theatre in a tribunal concerto. The atmosphere is palpable. A sense of nobility fills your body and you are proud that this momentous occasion is a result of your hard work.

Graduates are seated in the centre of the action; bodies covered down to their feet in their signature Hogwarts gowns – colour coded in ranking of their degrees importance of course. Teamed with an inexcusably immoderate oxford hat, like a student ready to be initiated into Gryffindor, you get the sense that Mr Potter may appear at any moment.

Yet the only magic taking place here is deception, the magical illusion of ceremony and reward, that will make the worries of a £50,000 debt and a high risk of unemployment, miraculously disappear.

Throughout your time in high school and college you’ve been fed the same line, “The more educated you are, the more successful you will be”.

This same line has now become a deep embedded ideology institutions have been repeating for decades, which has dramatically changed the peoples general behaviour towards education. Now, education has been deemed the only way to create access, opportunity and career success.

The reason why?

Well, it’s our societies obsession with meritocracy and its adept association with education and class. To be educated can only be proven by merit i.e GCSE’s, degrees, PhD’s, NVQ’s………..and the list goes on. You are taught that by obtaining such merit, doors into higher paying careers and specialist industries will open.

A UK Bachelor’s degree:

Average Cost: £50,000

Result: Certificate

Pro: Education

Con: No guarantees of employment in your chosen field of study or preparation for the working environment.

Introducing: THE STUDENT CON GAME.

After basking in the afterglow of your graduation; its the moment you discover your new reality of unemployment. You solidify your place in an overcrowded job market and realise there are more graduates than there is jobs.

But don’t expect this suprise to reveal itself until you receive your degree.

With a lack of opportunities in your specialism, you discover you’ve been conned. All of a sudden your degree isn’t enough. At this stage, you recognise the value of hands on experience is held to a higher standard, than your shiny certificate.

This is when you contemplate whether your £50k loan was worth the paperwork?

Not only are you competing with graduates, and the general public, but internal employees are applying for the same positions. They may not have the education, but good companies will invest in educating their current staff to degree level.

But don’t expect to be forewarned of these formalities whilst in university, because who knows…………..you might just end up leaving.

Just imagine the disappointment of the 50% of students who don’t even end up working in their field of study? (Independent UK, 2014)

Unless you have paid for your degree outright or have financial support, debt is a result of why you may probably fall into a different industry. As higher education comes with a cost that you now have an obligation to at least try to clear before you die.

How are students to know that despite their dedication to receiving this degree, they may end up choosing between their career and a job?

Years later, you yourself will go on to find truth in the latter. Fashion graduates in the insurance industry, biomedical graduates working in property management firms, law graduates working full time in restaurants, I mean the list goes on. University is nothing but a blurry memory to these individuals who discovered a passion in different industries.

At this point, university just seems like an expensive investment you make to justify that time in your twenties where you get to answer the question:

‘What the heck do I really want to do with my life?’

But my question is, is that answer worth £50,000?

Game of Thrones: The Commuter Edition

DISCLAIMER: Despite the title, this article is not a direct reference to the TV programme.

07:45am

It all starts one step behind the yellow line – literally a line between you and accidental death by tube.

The doors slide open, and frantically the commuters burst onto the train, darting crazily into different directions. The grey haired fox pushes past you to slide comfortably into the seat you had your eye on. You scowl.

Already you’ve been cheated and this wont be the last time.

If you are new to London, you will learn very quickly that it’s easy to get left behind when boarding public transport. You end up in a group called, ‘The standers’. Their usually the newbies like yourself. The capitals rookie re-locator’s, who get lost in the chaos and settle for a standing space in the aisle.

You can spot them a mile off. They are jumpy, easy to push over and suffer from a mild case of PTSD from their first commute. So please be patient with them when you tell them to move down. Know they have heard you, and their pause or minion like shuffle movement, is just a generic malfunction caused by their untreated PTSD. (And this is not a joke)

In fact during your first few weeks in the concrete jungle, these are your first commuting friends in London, as they are the ones who will help squeeze you onto a train when they backwards reverse their backpacks right into your stomach!

Every morning and every evening without fail you will start to notice the same faces. They will stand in the same spot, pick up the same newspaper and will stand on the same side of the platform.

Introducing ‘the regulars’.

Unlike ‘the standers’, these individuals are the top primates of the jungle. The top of the food chain, the ultimate contenders, who have fought this fight nearly all of their lives. This is their habitat and they will display their position of hierarchy by who sits first and who stands.

They display their position by offering a seat one of ‘the standers’ have been guarding, to a lady behind them.

Apparently, they were more in need, despite the lack of visual ailments which would say otherwise.

You bite your tongue and say nothing.

The game starts.

Grabbing onto the handles above, staring at the weakling below, the feeling of being cheated comes rushing back and all of a sudden you need to sit down.

You stare at the person seated below you intently, practically seething at the mouth, knowing that by every turn of the head, and every bum shuffle, they will eventually get up – and that is when, the throne is yours!

Yes the throne, that oh so precious throne that was unfairly pulled from your grasp by these savager hunters. That enticing seat with its magnetic pull that charms you towards it, tricking your mind into believing this seat is yours for the taking.

The moment you sit on it, you’ve won the game!

You body immediately relax, letting your mind travel to a place of satisfying tranquility; amidst the pandemonium around you. Deep down, you can’t believe you’ve finally won this precious seat, and you try your hardest not to gloat in your recent win.

The win of the luxury of sitting on the throne of ignorance, where you can ignore everything!

The losers look over you sour-faced at the reality of being stood for what could end up being hours, constantly being tugged from side to side like a boneless fish.

In this game of thrones where every move is calculated, there can only be one winner. Whilst the vultures congregate greedily- pushing, shoving and cheating each other for a seat, you begin to understand the savage behavior and the unique mindset of the people here.

Lack of eye contact for example is definitely one of the biggest signs of a savage. Understand that this is part of the community here, and as a outsider, you will notice accidental eye contact will create an awkward exchange of eyelash fluttering and robotic head movements. I call it, glitching.

You see, the lack of eye contact makes the cut throat behaviour easier, it allows you to remove yourself from the human you are as you ignore the pregnant or disabled and keep hold of your throne. By not looking you can pretend you are disconnected rather than ignorant and heartless.

Pregnant and disabled have even started to wear badges on their scarves or jackets, to ensure people can see these individuals are a priority.

What type of a nation needs to be prompted in this way?

In Manchester, you don’t have to wear a badge. No local will allow you to sit in a disabled seat if there is a pram, elder or disabled person on the bus or train. It just wouldn’t happen. Mancunians are way to self- aware of their surroundings to have the luxury of ignorance, especially when such an obvious injustice is taking place in front of them.

The Game of thrones is just another example of the problems with capitalism and the retention of rivalry it produces in the hearts of the people who live in these cities.

Common practices like commuting; turn into an almost animalistic combat between a nation of competitors who just don’t know when to stop.

It’s a sickness and it has poisoned us all.

This is why people here look the way they do. There soul is slowly and surely being chipped away, with every commute, with every push, scream and abusive threat on the tube. You will notice the people sat down will give you dirty looks. They kick you if you accidentally touch them. In this seat they feel they have an advantage above ‘the standers’.

They avoid eye contact so they don’t have to give up their throne to someone who may need it.

Its a different world here.

A world where the highly strung and driven meet their savage contenders in the fight of all fights, ‘The Game of thrones’.