Black pearl, precious little girl
Let me put you up where you belong
Black pearl, pretty little girl
You've been in the background much too long*
I was listening to the Horace Faith version of this song whilst dancing round the shop this morning *cough* I mean packing orders... And I was overcome by a wave of sadness. This song for me is one that conjures images of childhood and my mam singing it whilst dancing around a front room, bare foot. Songs from the Trojan Records label in general whisk me back to being a child and dancing until the early hours of the morning to Reggae track after Reggae track, interspersed with Motown of the 60s.
These are songs I grew up with (if you haven't read my previous blogpost on my family, you can find it here: Standing Up and Speaking Out) and they always fill me with nostalgia. But listening to the lyrics this morning, I was filled with sadness. Listening in 2020, to a song written in 1969, I was struck with how nothing has changed. Here we are in 2020, still fighting the same fight.
I don't know what it's like to be a black girl. My 'heritage' is not true heritage. It is not blood. My black family are married in on my Irish mother's side. I grew up with this mixed culture but I still know nothing of what it is like to be black.
But I can be an ally. I can educate myself further. I can educate my children. And I will be. The last few weeks' homeschooling has been on race, racism, white privelage and prejudice. When introducing the topic to my 7 year old, who is not totally naive to racism - she has read all about amazing people such as Rosa Parks, in both fiction and non-fiction, I asked her the question:
'Do you know what racism is?'
'Yes, it was what happened in the olden days. With people like Rosa Parks and with slavery'.
I clearly have a lot of work to do.
I can be an ally by ensuring Mr Sconch does his bit. Last week he petitioned his History department in his school to add Black History to the curriculum. If you are interested in this, and feel you can petition your school, either as a parent or a teacher, then this Instagram account is a great place to start - @theblackcurriculum. Their website for further info is:
Since starting to write this post, the people at The Black Curriculum who are doing such awesome work have announced that the government have responded that there is plenty of scope within the National Curriculum to teach Black History already and they don't need to change anything. *cough* Yes, because we all know about the Bristol Bus Boycotts, the Windrush generation, and black figures in Tudor or Victorian life. What, wait? You thought it was all white people, other than the slaves and 'rescued people' in the lands we conquered? Exactly. Here's a really accessible link on that (for grown ups and kids!)...
I can be an ally by promoting Black designers. If you haven't seen my social media feeds, head over to them and take a look. I am regularly posting a link to a BIPOC designer with some of what I think are their best designs. I've also added them to my Instagram highlights so you can see them all in one place. To start with I am largely just promoting Black designers, but I have found so many new-to-me BIPOC designers whilst looking into new designers (I already had lots of amazing black designers in my feed, but not enough to sustain this for any length of time when posting daily) that I will be broadening out my posts shortly, as I think my growing Ravelry favourites list needs to be shared with you!
Go and show these amazing designer's some love. Designers who are often overlooked in magazines and publications because of the colour of their skin.
Black pearl, pretty little girl
You've been in the background much too long...
'It is not enough to not be racist. We must be anti-racist' - Angela Davis, Political activist, educator and author
Now more than ever, we must live by this quote.
*Black Pearl [Spector, Wine & Levine; 1969]