The irony is not lost on most of us, that among the initial top runners for the job of Tory leader and Prime Minister, three out of four candidates were non white!. As the contest heats up and contenders fall by the wayside, the number of so called BAME candidates reduces but the race has a surprise contender in the form of Kemi Badenoch,. Ms Badenoch has breezed into the competition like a Kamikaze (Divine wind) for the Tories, fighting to be the most right wing candidate, in the process promoting passive and out of touch views about issues such as racial inequality. Are Kemi Badenoch, and the other front runner, Rishi Sunak, dangerous for black Britain?
Both candidates gush about the greatness of Britain and vomit appreciation to the ‘wonderful’ country that welcomed them and has now given them the opportunity to run for Prime Minister. They proudly give Britain the credit for their parents’ decision to migrate to this country, and given that they do not share the experiences of most black and brown people born and raised in the UK, or those who have lived through generational experiences such as windrush, nor therefore, are they affected by the most recent racist policies that resulted in a windrush scandal - what do they mean to black Britain if either of these two are elected?
Had I, or my British born black peers - who attended school with me, suggested being the next Prime Minister, I’m sure we would have been wrestled to the ground and strip searched for drugs! But I imagine, if you are a wealthy pupil with a private education, you may be encouraged to dream big regardless of your cultural heritage. Whilst it is not any offense to be privileged and black, these two leadership candidates are disconnected from the realities of the majority, and it is concerning that a wealthy, out of touch black person may have the steering wheel of the government, making important, life affecting decisions on issues - not least the inequalities - that black people in Britain face every day.
Whilst I get frustrated with people who suggest that any black person in a position of power is responsible for the plight of all black people and should somehow right the wrongs of history. I do share concerns that the ‘wrong’ black voice in power can potentially negatively influence and even reverse any progress in the acknowledgement of racism in British institutions, and indeed wider British society.. By promoting their own stories as a true representation of the black British experience, they diminish the experiences of whole communities in favour of their own love story about their lives in Britain.
In their world, racism does not really exist and to focus on it is to focus on the negatives at the expense of ‘ignoring the good’ [about Britain]. In their world, everyone has equal access to opportunity, because they have not shared the experiences of the millions who do not. In their view, the conservative party is diverse, and inclusive of black people. In the real world, the black community largely disagrees with all of the above!
Speaking to people from the black community, it is disappointing how many share a sense of political apathy as a result of feeling ignored by all Governments. There is little optimism for change with regard to economic disadvantage, social deprivation, health inequalities and educational gaps that directly affect Britain's black communities on various levels. The leadership debates have largely been centered around ‘trust’ as a direct result of Boris Johnson’s string of lies and dishonesty. But for many in the black community, they have no faith in any politician, the overall response when asked who they would like to see as leader, was that none of the candidates can be trusted, and none of the candidates will make a positive difference.
As refreshing as it would be to see a black or brown person leading the Government, it is clear that neither of the current candidates, Kamikaze Kemi or Rich Rishi Sunak, will make the slightest difference to the lives of black voters, and Kemi is proof that the wrong black person in power could do more harm than good.
What is your opinion on the leadership contest and the prospect of a black leader in government?