Thursday, 21 August 2014

The Home of Black Politics
Race equality not a photo opportunity
Dear Friends of OBV
With the resignation of the Conservative’s Baroness Sayeeda Warsi and more recently the frustration expressed by Lib Dem Pauline Pearce, I thought I’d write a piece - published in the Guardian - challenging all the political parties to engage with BME individuals and communities in a more progressive and honest fashion.
It’s not just the Conservatives and the Lib Dems who use BME individuals as ‘trophies’ or ‘tokenism’ whilst ignoring fundamental race equality issues, I also pointed out that the Labour Party too often engages in similar practises particularly at a local level.
In Lambeth Council for example, I’ve witnessed first-hand how the leadership has unashamedly wielded out one Black person to put down another. It makes you weep!
These and other divide and rule practices will not stop until we engage much more. If we want greater representation,- not the token Black person on the local Cabinet- we have to join the political parties in greater numbers and vote. My view on joining parties is that we do it with safety of numbers; family or friends Black or white, but those who get social and racial justice.
Right now the heart of America is burning because the nation has failed to effectively deal with institututional racism that has locked its African Americans out of the ‘American dream’. That same outpouring of pain was felt here in 2011 and it will again if we don’t act.
The 2015 General Election affords us a unique opportunity to make our demands for justice. And we must acutely remember if we demand nothing, we’ll get what they give us, which is often worse than nothing.
Keep strong
Simon Woolley