It’ll be people like me they’ll turn on first – Ayo Byron
It’s been 57 years since the creation of the Race Relations Act 1965, yet many minorities still face discrimination in both their working and personal lives. I feel like I need to speak out about some of the more harrowing experiences I have both seen and faced.
School should be a safe place for all children. A place to learn, develop skills, and figure out what you want to do with your life. However, this may not be the case for minority pupils. When I was 14 years old, and trying to decide on my future, I was asked a question by my teacher which has stuck in my mind.
‘Do you know what percentage of black people even go to university?’
Thankfully, rather than deterring me from achieving my goals, this only spurred me on to reject this discrimination and achieve more.
It was around this time, right up to the present day, that I also noticed that the level of discrimination was often worse for those with a darker skin tone. While I faced prejudice and bullying, my younger brother has had it a lot worse. This includes being falsely accused of crime by armed police when he was actually doing the grocery shop for Mum.
In adulthood, minority individuals may also have experienced severe discrimination and racial hate. I’ve noticed a pattern that, when on a night out with friends, I may have more or less problems with venues depending on the company I keep. If out with white friends or women, I may be less likely to be denied entry, although it can still occur. When I spend time with black friends, vendors normally find an excuse to not let us in.
One of the more recent, serious events that occurred was the 2021 World Cup Final. My friends and I opted not to go into London, as we each feared what might happen if, and when, England lost. My brother’s friend was not so lucky. Having ventured into the capital for a fun night out, he faced a lot of hate, similar to that received by the black members of the England team. This resulted in one of the group requiring hospital treatment.
Last Month one of my closest friends was the subject to an unprovoked attack in Soho. This is a place where I often like to spend time out with friends and family. After leaving a bar with a friend, he was violently attacked. Several men kicked and beat him on the street whilst shouting racial slurs at him. He woke up in hospital with a fractured eye socket and several other injuries, one of them being a knife wound. The police are still yet to identify the men in their investigation. While this sounds incredibly horrific, this is a very real threat that black members of society face each and every day, no matter the location.
At present, I live in Hertfordshire with my fiancée. While many couples might be planning their lives together, we have so many reservations about becoming parents. Can you imagine the level of pain and fear a couple might have to consider not having children due to the state of the world? This is reality for my partner and me. While I’d love to have children, I wouldn’t want them to face the same difficulties we’ve faced. Due to this, my future wife and I often question our dream to become parents, rather than condemn a child to suffer through this same cycle.
Raheem Bailey is only 11, and has now had his finger amputated due to injuries sustained from fleeing bullies. This is in addition to the injuries he already received from the bullies themselves. School should be a safe space for children, not somewhere that they feel they need to stand on guard. Bullying of black and minority members of society is all too common, hence why many parents prepare their children in advance against the stigma and language they may face.
Fresh out of University, I took on a role to gain experience for my CV. Within this workplace, I was one of only two minority employees. The majority of the team was white, including all of the senior staff. Due to cultural differences, I felt I wasn’t able to be my true self during the working day.
Then I found Tribal Impact. Initially, I was drawn to Tribal due to its existing diversity, as well as the way the company encourages and promotes diversity and different ideas within the team. On top of this, 50% of Tribal’s managers are female. Tribal Impact has shattered the glass ceiling that can often exist for women and minority groups in the workplace.
One of my aspirations, that I hope to achieve while working at Tribal Impact, is to pave the way for more diverse working environments. This means that, rather than employing as few minorities as possible to ‘tick boxes’, the best candidates are hired for roles, regardless of their skin tone.
At the same time, I would also love to see Tribal used as a platform for teaching diversity and inclusion. This should be achieved as soon as possible, so that more minority candidates have the same opportunities as their white counterparts.