May 31, 2020

Racism & Bigotry #JusticeForGeorge

Any of you who have read my other article know that I have my issues with mental health, namely PTSD and also know in my previous career I served 22 years in the Royal Air Force Police. I freely admit that I have a healthy mistrust in my fellow human being and the current situation regarding the killing of George Floyd is doing nothing to help heal that mistrust.

I suppose to try and understand this messed up situation we need to go back 46 years to when George was born, he was born at a disadvantage because he was born black. Lets take a minute to consider my previous statement, George was born and from that instant there were people on this planet that hated him, hated that he had come into being and hated that he breathed their air. Writing that one statement has angered me and sickened me beyond words. He grew up with that same disadvantage and ultimately died because of that disadvantage. I keep saying disadvantage, but we are literally talking about him having a different pigmentation to his skin, the same skin that covers all of our bodies, made from the same type of cells and holding in the same internal organs. We are all made from the same matter, that’s all that should matter!

Racism & Bigotry comes from a very evil mindset, an uneducated mindset and a place that doesn’t belong within the human race. I look forward to a day when it is obliterated from existence and until that day I will call it out where I see it.

Disadvantage is rarely something that is asked for or indeed deserved in most cases. I use myself as an example. I was born a white Roman Catholic in N.Ireland, a place where your very faith could either advantage or disadvantage you. I was born to an English mother and an Irish Father, much of my childhood was spent growing up abroad or in England, where my father was a steel engineer. When I moved back to N.Ireland at the age of 11 I had been shielded from the bigotry and actually found myself being targeted by my “Own People” and told to “go back to where I came from”. I don’t try to for a minute say my plight is anything like that of black people through the generations but I did want to point out the irony and also just how ill educated many bigots are. I think this had much to do with why I wanted to join the RAF at 18, get away from that atmosphere and see the world, doing something that in some small way might help to change things.

When I was diagnosed with PTSD, whilst still serving, was when I really understood what disadvantage is, not only that though, as mine was a hidden disability. I was invited to a Track Day at Brands Hatch hosted by the

As I mentioned in my other article, I nearly didn’t go for a few reasons but one was shame and a feeling that I was weak and not deserving. On that day as I stood there surrounded by real heroes, people who had lost parts of their bodies to war and conflict, my feeling of shame deepened. But do you know what each of them said, when they heard my story? I started to hear words like ‘Brave’, Bloody Courageous’, ‘I could never do that’ and even ‘hero’. Now to this day I refute being regarded as a hero of any kind, but what I did realise is that I had also lost a part of my body and these brothers and sisters had made me realise that. Something else to ponder on that never crossed my mind that day, I was with Black, White, Asian men and women, I assume there were Catholics, Muslims, atheists and other religions and probably people of all sexualities present that day. Not one part of that previous sentence meant a thing to anybody there, because we were part of a family, a family who had served their country and paid a price for doing so, but nonetheless a family, not unlike the Human race.

I suppose I have finally reached the point of my ramblings. I have seen with my own eyes the depravity and pure evil that can be caused by one human being on another, I have the scars on my mind to prove it. I can definitively tell you one thing about my observations, they weren’t all Black men, Asian men, Straight men, Gay men, Christian or Jewish men, they weren’t even all men!

What matters most isn’t what is outside and I know it’s cliche to say but it really is “What’s inside that counts”, maybe its cliche for a reason?

I fully support those who are out there protesting for change, but wish they would consider their own lives and the lives of those around them during the current pandemic, especially when as usual there is that minority who don’t care about George Floyd, probably don’t even know who he was, but see an opportunity to riot and to loot which just overshadows and destroys the very important message behind this tragedy.

Remember as I said in my last article, be kind to others as you never know what burdens they may be carrying and don’t judge people by appearances as they are often not what they seem.