Final Major Project PHO705 Week 15: Postscript
When I began this project, The Windrush Scandal was still reasonably fresh with regards to news coverage and public outrage. I specify the areas in which it was fresh because many of the families and family friends within the communities affected by this have been living with the effects of this scandal and the systemic racism that influenced many of the actions taken throughout it for years.
My first job after completing University was a care job, I moved from one home to another before eventually returning to University to study a PGCE before finally becoming an FE lecturer throughout my life I realised whether in when in retail spaces or at work that I was required to change my vernacular and the way I behaved and interact with people to be accepted in specific environments, to be treated as an equal. This is referred to as code-switching “Code-switching is the process of shifting from one linguistic code to another, depending on the social or conversational setting. For black people, this means having the ability to switch from AAVE to “proper English” whenever it is deemed appropriate.” (Code-switching Means Survival For Black People, 2020)
This need to change the way I speak and behave to fit in and be accepted into wider society is problematic, but something I perceived as normal until recently. On the 25th May 2020 an African American male named George Floyd was murdered by the police he was accused of having attempted to pay for something using a counterfeit $20 note. His murder sparked worldwide protests, and eventually, riots, his death and the subsequent fallout have led to many open discussions pertaining to race and systemic racism how insidious and prevalent it is.
In 2020 Racism still remains a widespread problem, it has however changed overt racism is rare but white supremacy remains embedded in many facets of our day to day lives, an example of this is the need for many British born people of colour to code-switch to be accepted in the workplace. The death of George Floyd in America was a revelation for many people worldwide, but I wouldn’t say that this was a significant revelation for black people, This moment this revolution and discussions related to racism have been discussed by people within the black community for a long time.
The Windrush generation experienced discrimination and racism from the very start many of the people from this diaspora came to the UK thinking it was their motherland and expecting to be received with open arms, the reality of their reception was dramatically different to what they had imagined. The Systemic racism that was experienced by the Windrush generation doesn’t exist anymore, but it hasn’t gone it has instead evolved and in the UK manifests itself differently. In contrast, when the SS Windrush arrived in Essex, the people could leave a job and be placed into another the following day today people with ethnic minority sounding names are 74 % less likely to hear a positive response when applying for a job. (Job applicants with ethnic minority sounding names are less likely to be called for interview, 2020)
Racial discrimination never went anywhere; it just evolved, people realised that overt acts of racial discrimination would be met with a consequence, and so instead, discrimination has begun to be displayed in different ways.
Not everyone who came over with the wind rush generation described being met by racist behaviour, many in fact discussed the positive experiences they had in moving to the UK and explained the entire experience as a positive one. Despite this, the unfortunate reality of many of the decisions made related to the treatment of the wind rush generation were related to race and racism.
Taking the pictures for this project was initially influenced by my wish to share the personalities of this collective of people and encourage empathy from those outside of the community. However, it ended up also enabling me to learn much about the experiences of this collective of people and enabling me to appreciate that much more how much was sacrificed to afford me the many benefits I have in my life.