Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Colour-blind: What colour are you?

What colour are you? Are you black or white? Are you green, blue, red, yellow or purple? What colour are you? I am black. I am white. I am brown. I have a soulful Jamaican heritage and I live in England. There is London beneath my feet but I have a tropical heart full of a mix of otherness. I was made from love and the blood of a white man and black woman. My black ancestors stood up to fight against the oppression of my white ancestors. My white ancestors trampled all over my black ancestors to build this country. What colour were your elders and your ancestors, what colour are your ghosts? What colour are you? What box do you tick? I would like to tick the box for truth, for hope, for change. I would like to tick the box for freedom and equality.

People are not cockroaches. We are all immigrants. We have to pull together now or we won’t have any planet left to bicker about. Walls and borders and labels and boxes are created to separate us, but whether we like it or not, we remain connected as human beings. We have other senses, we feel and feed each others hopes and fears. We have to feed the hope. Hope is the question and hope is the answer. They want you to think it is all hopeless, it is only hopeless if you give up, if we give up.  The point is hope. 

My friend Oli tells me I am not half caste but double caste. I’m hoping this means I have double helpings of understanding, a double egg yolk of experience and knowledge stored in my DNA and manifesting itself in the choices I make now and here. I don't feel half anything, I feel whole.  

I grew up to love otherness, to appreciate the contents of this world paint box. I have to love all sides. I have no side. I am outside and inside and I am both sides. From this viewpoint all I can see is that there is no such thing as sides, there is just this present. We are fragile, here we are, living on a blue and green mud-marble, spinning through space and time, we grab onto the here and now, capture it and broadcast it. We are the media, we film and document our lives, we share our stories and news, we are the filter, there has never been more documentation of human behaviour. We feed our hopes and fears. We have to stop feeding the fear and ignorance.  We have a choice. You are the point and the point is hope.

My love is colour blind. He cannot see a sunset. He cannot see the magenta and tangerine evening sky, to him a sunset is variations of grey and charcoal clouds. We are all tasting flavour, hearing music and seeing tone and variations of hue only from our own unique perspectives. We use lazy names, boxes and labels to make gangs like children in the playground. We split the teams, we fragment groups and this breaks the line of defense. Imagine if we all stood together and stepped into the sun light to see the bigger picture, it could be magnificent. There is only one thing that matters, and that is peace, equality, humanity and fairness. This is what I hope for. I’ll do anything to contribute to that. I’ll do anything to make sure we don’t go down in history as the generation who lost hope, like a marble down a drain.

All over the world we are failing humanity and equality on so many levels. We fail to educate and we fail to listen. For example, illiteracy threatens over 785 million adults worldwide, that translates into one in every five people on the planet, with either no or just basic reading skills. And two-thirds of that illiterate population is women. Even I can determine that that is a deafening silence of women that globally have no say, women that cannot read or write, that cannot vote or speak out. How can anything be fair if only a percentage of the world population can read and write? And with that in mind, what is a democracy if only a percentage are voting? Here at home, only approx. 65% of UK citizens voted in the last election, so what are the non-voters thinking? We don’t know unless they speak up. Nine million women didn’t vote in the last UK election. I'm not telling you what to vote or who to vote for, that is your choice and your right, I'm just asking you to use your vote. 

Personally I feel that the powers that be have been systematically attacking the weak, the poor, the elderly and the disabled whilst lining their own pockets. I think it is our duty to fight to save the NHS. The poor get poorer and the rich get richer, same old, same old. It is a fact that the war mongers never rest, the fascists, the racists and bigots never take a day off - and then nor should the people who want change and equality and diversity and fair play. I am voting because I still have hope, as idealistic as it sounds, I believe my voice counts. They want you to think it is pointless, that is the point. This government rely on apathy.  Feed the hope and not the fear. Hope is free, so pass it on.

14 December 1918: women vote in a UK election for the first time. Illustration by F Matania 

 Tonight, May 7th, I'm speaking at Chill Pill, Albany Theatre, London.
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