What are the anxieties faced by a black man living in the UK? How does one cope with these anxieties? In what way is there a class divide in the UK? How long have you been in the UK? What are your family values? Do you prefer soul or R&B?
Generally, I’m all right, I’m okay. How I feel as a black man it is… it is a mixture of feelings. Because when I came to UK, at the beginning, I had different expectations, you know? At the beginning, I thought, honestly, I thought I was at home, ’cause my first UK (city) that I saw was London, and I thought, ‘everywhere I attend my face, I see, I see the black people, you know? Or people with African origin’. So it’s given me the impression of feeling at home, at the beginning.
How long have you been in the UK?
Now I would say.. from getting to almost two years.
Okay. Now, I would like us to talk about how you feel as a black man living in the UK?
Okay. I realised… here has been divided into class. Either you belong to the class or you’re out. And that’s, that’s put me in some place where I had to think a lot, because I realised as a as a black man here, in some cases, you’re not at even wanted, you’re only here to do the dirty jobs, you know? That is how you are being seen here. That is my point of view, and nothing else. You don’t play an important role here, your role is just to, to do the work, that actually people don’t want to do them, you know.
And do you feel anxious because of that?
I feel… black people here need much more attention than what they have. So, we will talk about and go back to the so called Black Lives Matter. You can see there are so many things within that frame. Someone can come from somewhere from Eastern Europe or wherever he comes from. He has the possibility here to be accepted faster than someone who’s… maybe grand, grandparents, were among those who built this country, namely British. Nevertheless you estimate where you were before, in terms of the mentality people have towards you… the soul, you understand? Namely inferior, and they see you as inferior person who is very inferior, and somebody who is opposite to you, sees himself as superior already, you understand? And that is how I see things. All that anxious in attendance, I am anxious about that or not. I am someone who believes in himself so much, such a way that sometimes it makes me even aggressive, sorry. Because if you try to underrate me for certain situations, I’ll put you in the right way, whoever you are.
Can you give us a little bit more understanding about your background and the reasons why you’re feeling this way, especially regarding your family values?
I was born in Ghana….and I will say socialised also in Ghana before I came to UK, you know? I mean, I grew up in Ghana before I came here, so… So these are the values I carry in me. Wherever I am, if before I leave the people, I try to leave the place in peace or respect, and so that is my way of life. If I realise I’m somewhere or- to respect, is for me, it’s just part of my life, wherever you are, whether you are small, or whatever, I give you the due respect you deserve. And I’m a Muslim from religion, actually, Islam lay a lot of emphasis on respect of humanity, generally, you have no excuse. Nevertheless, one is sometimes vulnerable, also, you know? Vulnerability is a natural phenomenon. Sometimes you have to get used to, when you are vulnerable, to be able to protect yourself.
And do you think that a black man can reach his full potential in the UK?
In the test upon what kind of goals you have, you know? If, for instance, a black man want to be a cleaner to, to make his money over there. Well, maybe he can make he can, he can reach his potential in that way. If a black man wishes to be a politician, for instance, in this country, or a manager, really big manager in some big company or whatever it is influential… then I would say, you have a very gradiant, high hill, to climb, It is possible, but very narrow, you know? Very narrow, because people will frustrate you. People will try to put obstacles in your way. You need absolute support, financially, and morally, and psychologically. So you ask yourself, ‘where do you get all these factors that I just mentioned?’ If from… seeing… even if you observe critically, the black people, constitutes the people with low income, and as in this country. So talk about in terms of financially, to be able to finance your education, maybe your parents can’t do that. Or they may not be able to do that, when it comes to someone who is gonna support you morally, I mean, morally in the sense of maybe giving some kind of modest motivations, because it can be odd- sorts, what sort of motivations? Like role models, or whatever it is, you ask yourself, how many of black people are really, really, really successful in this country? Because when you see successful people, it, it motivates you already morally, you know, and when you pave your way towards that goal, maybe you will meet most of them on the way who can also give you some kind of helping hands to move forward. ‘I’m sorry, you don’t have all these things. You don’t have all these golden possibilities, save on your plates’. So therefore, it is not impossible. But it is really, really, really difficult.
So what would you say to the younger generation in terms of managing anxiety as a black individual living in the UK? Because all the things that we talked about can bring anxiety.
Yeah, yeah, yeah. You see, in the first place, I will go back to the development of a child as a baby. If a child from the beginning got some kind of really protected, warmth from the parents, and then from the beginning, gave the children some kind of self esteem, because they have to get it. If a child grew up with self-esteem, then he’s alright! He has no way to get afraid, or to get anxiety, even if he get one, he will come out of it. Love, care and support and really strong binding… You see, these things paves a very beautiful way for a child you know? And rather unfortunate, most, most, most of the parents here, they think too much about money. They have to wake up early in the morning, in the morning to go and search for money, many, many hours, and they have less hours for the children. So I will tell you this. The majority of African people with African origin here, they get the binding or other varieties from televisions and medias, or whatever it is, not directly from their parents, because the parents are not there. If you stay for the child with the little that you have, and just make sure that the child goes on the right path, and make sure that the child has got the care and support he needs, you will see what will be with one of the child. It’s just like a flower that you plant in front of your room, or in your room. If you don’t take care of that flower, it dies very quick. It needs water. It needs attention. Flowers, let alone a human being! Because you don’t see it, but you are 100% absolutely his role model. The way you laugh, the way you talk, the way you move, your child copies, but you don’t see it. The child doesn’t see it as well, but somewhere along the line the light comes out. It’s a hidden truth, you know? And for that matter, that is where the problem begins. If we stay very present with the children, we give them this care and support, believe me, whatever they want to do they will succeed. Because they have free mind in the first place, the free mind can absorb every sheet, you understand? And the child, you see- as we are talking about self-esteem, the self-esteem in that soul, if a child, when you feel, ‘I am not capable’, then that is the beginning of the anxiety, no? That is where it begins. Most of the young people who are, who are really aggressive, they have all anxiety. All of them. The work should begin from the parents, from the grassroots. If not, nobody will pave any way for you as a black man here, every ways are really blocked. You have to fight to get through, that’s all. That is how I see it, sorry.
It was so interesting! And before we conclude our conversation, please answer the following within your best abilities. Peacock or crow?
I’d like to be a crow.
And my last question. Soul or R&B?
Maybe I’ll go for Rythm & Blues, yes.
Thank you so much for coming today, and I hope you could come back very soon. I really love hearing about your opinion. And thanks again!
Transcribed by https://otter.ai