I caught the first episode of Steve McQueen’s three part series Uprising. It’s about the 1981 New Cross house fire in which killed 13 young black people died in an allegedly racially-motivated attack, and the subsequent response it engendered amongst black Britons across the UK. I was hooked. It was thought-provoking and I recommend that if you missed it, you should catch it on iPlayer.
It was particularly powerful to me, as I was in my late teens at the time. The racist language and attitudes of some at the time ring very true, even to someone from East Anglia. Black people were, in large part, few and far between, but even so, I heard similar language every day. It’s difficult as a rural white person to have a true understanding of what black urban people were experiencing. The series brilliantly showed how the racism was overt, explicit and rife in our society from top to bottom.
Things have improved greatly in the past 40 years. Racism today has become far less acceptable than it once was, but sadly it is still out there. Today, for the most part, it’s covert and better hidden.
As we saw in the Euros recently, it still rears its ugly head, showing us there is still more work to be done.