Chapter 9: Awakening

Ain’t no Black or White

…I wasn’t conscious of it, but I began to loathe them. I remember discussing this issue with friends sometime later and saying that I couldn’t understand how people could go on about racism in Britain when, in my experience, the only people who had caused me pain were my people, people who looked like me and came from my community. In fact, much of the help I had received had come from ‘white’ people, like my manager at the DHSS who had gone out of his way to help me find somewhere to live and other caring people at work. So I couldn’t understand or justify the ‘racism’ script for the experiences of ‘black’ people in Britain.

For many years, whether by coincidence or design, I became further estranged from family and community. I moved to Harrow Weald, and left the job in the civil service in Harlesden for a job in financial services, in Watford, Hertfordshire. The flat sharing with my cousin hadn’t worked out, so I moved in with my brother. That didn’t work out either so I moved in with the Jewish lady in Cricklewood. It was the start of a brand new life on my own terms. The year was nineteen ninety.

By the time I returned to the London Borough of Brent seven years later, in nineteen ninety seven, to develop the research project with young people, I had undergone some serious personal transformation…

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