Timi Ariyo from London says that although George Floyd’s killing has sparked a discussion on racism – its far from a new problem.
The killing of George Floyd has sparked a global conversation on racial inequalities in society.
Ahead of the Sky News special show, Race and Revolution – Will Change Come, Timi Ariyo, who works in investment banking in London, shares his personal experience of racism and ways he believes the UK can begin to solve the problem, against the backdrop of the Black Lives Matter campaign.
Mr Ariyo (@tjariyo) splits his time between Essex, where he was brought up, and London where he now works. He has a law degree from Bristol University.
The last few weeks have been an emotional rollercoaster for me – not only having to relive my own personal experiences of racism but also finally seeing racism covered in the mainstream media.
For many black people in the UK, we have been fighting to be heard for years.
#BlackLivesMatter started in July 2013 – this is not a new movement. Black people have been mercilessly killed and broadcast on social media more times than I can count.
In light of the movement I have been using my voice, as often as possible, to educate those around me about my experience growing up as a black male in the UK.
These conversations have been difficult, not only with colleagues but with close friends. Despite the pain and awkwardness, it is necessary for people un-learn their negative prejudices and unconscious biases towards black skin.
The effects of structural and institutional racism are deep rooted within history and society’s behaviour instincts. It will take collective effort, from black and non-black allies to uproot what has been sown.
A lot of my suffering at the hands of racism has been in silence, because I never felt that anyone cared about what it meant to be black or how hard it was.
But now corporations, brands, celebrities and the general public are listening – this is our chance for honest growth.
While it feels like the movement is picking up momentum, I remain cautiously optimistic.
Having been racially attacked in a club in in Wales earlier this year, it is hard to be certain that this new wave of progressiveness is here to stay. I hope it does, but it will take more than just black squares on Instagram.
Tangible change; support of charities, signing of petitions and engaging in difficult conversations is what is needed.
The social media outrage and political protests are leading to changes I never thought I would see in my lifetime – the arrests of George Floyd’s killers, removal of statues celebrating slave traders, corporations donating millions to aid the cause and white people speaking out against racism publicly.
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Whilst these things are by no means enough to resolve the great issues at hand, these small victories must be appreciated.
Throughout my own personal experiences of racism, justice has not been served. But I hope this new movement will see justice move to the forefront of our society.
Race and Revolution: Is Change Going to Come?
Sky News will broadcast a global debate show tonight at 8pm – looking at the issues raised by the Black Lives Matter protests, and examining institutional racism and how we fix it.