The media this week has been full of news concerning three of the England football team who have suffered abhorrent racial abuse since their defeat on Sunday (11th July 2021). The outpouring of overwhelming support for the players in encouraging, however, this is only part of the story and far from the full truth. We should all be very concerned about racism today.
Since the weekend we have learned from people within the black community about how they were also targeted and attacked by racists on Sunday night. We felt compelled to stand together and publicly condemn this because many of us are simply unaware of how much damage is caused by racism, or how prevalent it still is.
Imagine that you have late-teen or early-adult children who want to watch the football tournament final with friends at an organised venue, maybe at a pub or a fan zone. Now imagine that, because they are black, you must discuss the safety of their plans with them before they leave. You must urge them to leave early if England look like they are losing, and to remain vigilant and alert the whole time so that they can quickly escape if trouble starts. Imagine worrying about whether they will get home safely, not the usual worry that all parents have, but a fear that they might be violently targeted. Then imagine that England have lost the game and you get a message that your children have witnessed their friends running for their lives being chased by a group carrying weapons. Think about how traumatised your children are and how traumatised you are worrying about them. Add to this the frantic phone calls to find somewhere to stay for your children, nearby to where they are so that they will be off the streets and out of harm’s way. To cap it all, imagine seeing a post on social media encouraging racists to play a game in which they get points for racist acts. The lowest scoring act being for verbal abuse, but the highest score being for actually lynching a black person. This is not the southern States I am talking about – this is England in 2021.
Now imagine the next day. Do you feel safe to go to work? Will there still be hung-over racists on public transport?
The national news has not covered this part of the story, but it is the most important part because thousands of people experience racist abuse regularly. Each experience is a fresh trauma laid over a previous one. This is unacceptable in our society, and nobody should expect to be treated this way.
To say “Mission Direct condemns racism” is insufficient to convey the shocking and evil problem that it is in our society. For us to appreciate this more, we need to hear about the real-life experiences of racism, from those we know who are directly affected. Please join us in condemning racism in all its forms and please consider what practical steps you can take to work against it.
The Mission Direct team, 15th July 2021