"I support the protests, even in the current climate"
"The gap in life expectancy between the most and least deprived areas in the UK is 8.4 years. 19.6% of Britain’s most deprived areas are made up of black people, whereas they comprise 3% of the population as a whole. Do the maths."
My name is Dan. I am an A+E doctor working in Hackney, East London - a deprived area with a large black population and 45% of people living in social housing. I see the impact of deprivation on patient health every day, and the current pandemic has highlighted this further – the highest inpatient COVID death rates in the country are in hospitals (including mine) in the most deprived areas. Deprivation is a negative cycle that impacts all aspects of life, disproportionately affecting black and minority communities.
This stark inequality in society is a situation that governments in the West have shown no desire to change over the years. Which is no surprise – the current institution puts them in power, and their primary interests lie in self-preservation of power. Why would they want to change things?
This is why the current movement is so important, and why it needs to continue. These protests have been ignored for decades, and they will continue to be ignored unless the voice of the oppressed is heard differently this time – louder, angrier, and with the support of everyone.
I support the protests, even in the current climate. We know there will be a second wave, previous pandemics have taught us that. But what we don’t know is how bad it will be - the government handling of this crisis so far has shown us how much they are guessing at things.
What we do know, however, is the health impact that a system of oppression has imposed on minority groups. The gap in life expectancy between the most and least deprived areas in the UK is 8.4 years. 19.6% of Britain’s most deprived areas are made up of black people, whereas they comprise 3% of the population as a whole. Do the maths. We are taking off thousands of years of life from black and minority communities in our current system – without even mentioning the comparative life quality.
So please continue to protest. But please social distance, please wear masks and take every precaution you can. In my opinion, the potential improvement from institutional reform that the protests bring outweighs the negative.
And for white people like me, who have undoubtedly had a more privileged path through life – please support this voice and this movement.
I grew up and hung out with mostly white people; I think every one of us knows the amount of casual racism that exists amongst us. I have certainly been guilty of it myself, and I am not proud of it. Because you know that there exists no real difference between us, you know that no one is actually inferior, you think that it is ok to make comments or jokes based on racial stereotypes. You 'don’t mean anything by it', and you 'don’t care if people make jokes about white people, so it doesn’t matter'. But it does.
A mindset like this sows the seeds of division and justifies the mindsets and actions of people who do think there is a real difference between people based on the amount of pigment in their skin. It creates the grassroots that feed this system of racial inequality, and it is where we can all do our part to create fundamental change.
Explore and educate yourself on the struggles that oppressed groups throughout society have faced. And realise that we are all one people, one race, and feeding division and animosity between anyone hurts everyone. Everyone deserves the opportunity to live a peaceful, happy and productive life. If humanity is to survive, we all need to support each other.