Sunday, October 3, 2010

The African British Experience

British Born Jamaican, Delroy Constantine-Simms
penned this article for "The Black Commentator"
in the March 1, 2007 issue.
Here's some of what he said. Read more for further insight into the "Black British" experience.

The majority of Africans in the Diaspora still suffer a lack of knowledge of self and our past and as a result suffer from cultural disinheritance. Historically this has lead to the internalisation and feelings of an inferiority complex, which are a direct result of becoming caricatures and an inferior subset of the human race in the body of Western thought.

Nowhere else in the world does Black History include the celebration of other cultures’ history that is not of African (and Caribbean) Origin. The British approach to Black History Month may be seen as inclusive to many, but to me it effectively challenges and undermines the reason why Black History Month was initially conceived. This urbanisation of Black History Month represents the watering down and marginalisation of our history and significant contribution to British society post and pre the Windrush.

In the USA, Black means anybody that is of African heritage; usually referring to Africans, African-Americans, Caribbean and African South Americans and those who identify with the Black experience but may be of dual heritage. No one else! Blacks in Britain have to accept footnote politics in that the definition of Black has to be explained on most public documents aimed at the so called target group. It's laughable, but a fact of British politics. It's no wonder African-Americans don't take us seriously as a community. It's no wonder they are confused when the come to UK Black History events only to find that the History being discussed has nothing to do with the African Diaspora experience. It's easy to blame the local authorities and national government, and mainstream for this state of affairs. But in reality, misguided Black politicians of the late 1970's with strong socialist tendencies created a situation where Black political and socio-historical contributions to the United Kingdom have been marginalised, recast and re-labelled as an urban contribution to the delight of organisations and policy makers who have no interest in accepting the term Black, let alone the contribution of Blacks in the United Kingdom before the arrival of the Windrush and after!

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