• Leah Quinn

I am angry - #BlackLivesMatter

Updated: Jul 17, 2020

I am angry.

Everything I say in this article has a receipt at the bottom. Please ask me where I got the information. Please fact check me. I am not kidding.

If you’re wondering why I specifically am so angry, I believe it is my duty as a feminist to be intersectional. That means using my privilege as a white woman to support those who are disenfranchised by the system.

It is my duty as a TA who works in a very diverse secondary school in one of the most underfunded boroughs in London. I refuse to see my students grow up in a world where they can get racially profiled by the police as drug dealers or gang members just for existing in their community, where they aren’t even surprised when someone is stabbed in the park opposite their school, where their GCSE and A Level grades are statistically more likely to be underestimated, where they are less likely to get the highest grades in universities, where they are less likely to work in highly-paid jobs, and where if they get stopped by the police – they are more likely to end up dead.

I have never been stopped by the police. I have never been questioned or intimidated. I am white. I am privileged. I go through my life unafraid of a police car and a badge; the people of colour who walk through life beside me should also live in this world unafraid of the people who are meant to protect us.

I’ve been on edge the past few days watching the world descend into Armageddon. I keep seeing news stories with cars on fire and buildings burnt out and cops shooting peaceful protesters in the eyes with rubber bullets just for daring to recognise this sickness that is racism in our system.

I feel we have woken up in a dystopian novel. Except this is life.

I am talking about America. I am talking about the United Kingdom. I am talking about anywhere in the world where people of colour are threatened and targeted and disenfranchised for the colour of their skin.

The protests in the United States began after George Floyd, an African American man, was murdered while in police custody on the 25th May. The video of a white police officer kneeling on Mr Floyd’s neck, while he desperately tells him that he can’t breathe, has been circulated on social media. The police officer and others with him during the incident have since been sacked and the police officer in question is also appearing in court on charges of manslaughter and third-degree murder.

Protesters are now calling for the other police officers involved to face criminal charges and continue to protest the ongoing violence towards and murder of people of colour.

It is mad to me that a little over a week ago, we were whinging about face masks and writers were trying to come up with something original to say about social distancing and Zoom meetings.

Most people will agree that violence towards people of colour is not a new thing. Some people may believe it no longer exists. That is not true. It is real and it is current and it is here in the United Kingdom too.

If you think it’s an America problem:

Sarah Reed died in Holloway Prison, North London in 2016.

Mark Duggan was shot and killed by police in Tottenham, North London, in 2011.

Sheku Bayoh died in police custody in Scotland in 2015.

Christopher Alder died in police custody in Kingston Upon Hull, 1998.

Smiley Culture died of a stab wound to the chest during a police raid at his Surrey home in 2011.

Jimmy Mubenga died after being restrained on a British Airways flight in 2010.

Michael Powell died after being restrained by the police in Birmingham, 2003.

Leon Briggs died in police custody in Luton, 2013.

Ricky Bishop died in police custody in Brixton, 2001.

Brian Douglas died in police custody in South London, 1995.

Joy Gardner died in police custody in North London, 1993.

Sean Rigg died in police custody in Brixton, 2008.

Leon Patterson died in police custody in Manchester, 1992.

Cynthia Jarrett died during a police search of her home in North London, 1985.

Cherry Groce whose shooting by a police officer during the 1985 Brixton Riot contributed to her death in 2011.

Derek Bennett was shot dead with police in Brixton, 2001.

Kingsley Burrell died after being detained by West Midlands Police in 2011.

Roger Sylvester died after being detained by police in Tottenham, 1999.

Azelle Rodney was shot dead by police in Edgeware, 2005.

Habib Ullah died after being searched by the police in High Wycombe, 2008.

Faruk Ali, an autistic man was attacked by the police in Luton in 2014.

Adrian Thompson died after being tasered by the police in Newcastle-under-Lyme in 2014.

Jean Charles de Menezes was shot dead by the police in Stockwell, London, 2005.

Demetre Fraser died in police custody in 2011.

Aston McLean was crushed to death by a policecar in Reading, 2014.

Seni Lewis died after being restrained by police in Croydon, 2010.

Anthony Grainger was shot and killed by police in Cheshire, 2012.

Rocky Bennett died after being restrained by staff in a psychiatric hospital in Norwich, 1998.

Alton Manning died after being beaten by police in a prison in Worcestershire, 1995.

Mark Nunes was shot by police in Hampshire, 2007.

So please explain to me how we are overreacting. Please explain how every single one of these people was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. Count the number of times it says in police custody. How many white people have died in police custody?

I am angry to be living in a world where this still happens. I am angry for my students. I am angry for my friends. I am angry for every single person of colour who needed someone to use their privilege and legitimise what they have been saying for years.

This is why we march.

If you want to learn:

  • 13TH. 2016 documentary, directed by Ava DuVernay. Available on Netflix or YouTube. Looks at the disproportionate mass incarceration of people of colour in the United States of America.

  • Dear White People. 2017 TV series, created by Justin Simien. Available on Netflix. Follows the lives of people of colour at a predominantly white university in the United States of America.

  • Brit(ish). 2018 autobiographical non-fiction, by Afua Hirsch. Looks at the inequalities faced by people of colour in the United Kingdom.

  • Why I'm No Longer Talking to White People About Race. 2017 autobiography / social issues non-fiction, by Reni Eddo-Lodge. Looking at the inequalities faced by people of colour in the United Kingdom.

Works Cited.

Racial bias in police stop and search policy getting worse, report reveals.

Black people 40 times more likely to be stopped and searched in the UK.

Teachers warned over unconscious bias amid fears that ethnic minority children will get the wrong grades.

Black students will suffer most from A Level cancellations – they routinely outperform their predicted grades.

Black and minority students could lose out if grades are based on predicted results.

Universities should be punished for giving black students lower grades.'

As a black student, I know why our grades are worse. Universities don’t listen to us.

Revealed: how minority ethnic graduates lose out on jobs.

Why do black male graduates earn £7000 less per year than their white peers?

Getting killed by police is a leading cause of death for young black men in America.

Linda Tirado: a freelance writer/photographer is now permanently blind in her left eye after being shot in the face by a police officer’s rubber bullet in Minneapolis, United States. Updates on her Twitter @KillerMartinis.

Sarah Reed -

Mark Duggan -

Sheku Bayoh -

Christopher Alder -

Smiley Culture -

Jimmy Mubenga -

Michael Powell -

Leon Briggs -

Ricky Bishop -

Brian Douglas –

Joy Gardner –

Sean Rigg –

Leon Patterson –

Cynthia Jarrett –

Cherry Groce -

Derek Bennett -

Kingsley Burrell –

Roger Sylvester -

Azelle Rodney -

Habib Ullah -

Faruk Ali -

Adrian Thompson -

Jean Charles de Menezes -

Demetre Fraser -

Aston McLean -

Seni Lewis -

Anthony Grainger -

David Bennett -

Alton Manning -

Mark Nunes -

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