When people tell black people or people in general to go back where they’ve come from in its various forms it hurts. It hurts because it typically comes with the implication that the person in question doesn’t really belong they come from a different land or place and are not indigenes or a real part of the local society.
I believe this is key to why there was such an uproar amongst people of colour amongst others when Naga Munchetty was reprimanded for speaking of how she felt when people had made such comments to her in the past and stating that it was racially based when President Trump made such comments into four ladies of colour in America. (The upset was heightened by the fact that her comments were actually in response to her co-presenters questioning and he was in no way reprimanded). Ref: Naga’s Comments
If it’s never happened to you, think back to when you were in school or imagine a situation with your child, a nephew or niece or any other young person – let’s call him/her Alex. Imagine that child playing with a group of other young people. The child does something that one or two of the people in the group don’t like. As a result, one of them highlights something distinctive about Alex that makes her different and tells Alex to go away if she’s not ready to do things like them or as they would wish. The way it feels begins to explain how people of colour feel when told to go home, especially when a person generally receives subtle messages that imply that they don’t belong on a more regular basis.
But who is to say that people of colour don’t have as much of a right to be here as anyone else? And where is home if not Britain if it’s where a person was born and raised or at least if it’s the place that they have ultimately connected with and made their home.
Even though a significant number of people of colour in Britain today are first, second or third generation Brits. There are often deep root connects for many who have family roots with parents or grandparents from countries that were part of the British Empire – countries that were historically classified as British. Others have her over time due to varying circumstances – relationships, economics, work opportunities/requirements, famines, politics or war. They come with the strong compulsion to work hard, contribute and become an effective part of society. Typically, the greatest frustration of the immigrant to Britain occur where there are circumstances that prevent them from doing so.
Going back further, many people think that the black presence in Britain started with the Windrush Generation, if they actually have an awareness of this. Others may go back a bit further to the first World War where people of colour from across the colonies fought alongside British soldiers in the war.
There are, however, those that say that there have been people of colour in Britain for over 2000 years. There are clear records of the Blackamoores or Black Tudors of African origin in Britain in the 1500s. Ref: Black Tudors
There was the abolitionist, Olaudah Equiano 1745-1797 and William Davidson 1781-1820 of Jamaican origin who was hung at the now Old Bailey. There are also plenty of records of Black Victorians in the 1800s and 1900s. Images of Black Victorians.
Truth be told, Britain has long been home to people of colour and it always will be.
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