#DiverseBookWeek 2020 – Day 1

For Diverse Book Week this year, I’m reading David Olusoga’s Black and British A Forgotten History. I explained in an earlier post why I chose this book.

This is my first daily update where I’ll share some thoughts on what I’ve read so far. The first thing I have to say is that ‘so far’ isn’t very far because I’m finding that I quite often have to sit back and process what I have just read. The preface and introduction have provided plenty of food for thought and I haven’t yet got into the proper book!

Two things have struck me. The first is further confirmation that as a white male my lived experience of growing up in 70s/80s Britain is very different from that of my Black peers. While I was having a great time at FE college taking my A levels, a young David Olusoga and his family were being driven from their home by a sustained barrage of racist violence and intimidation by members of the National Front.

The second thing is the extent to which the history we are presented with, that I was taught in school, and that makes up so much of the current curriculum, is largely a whitewashed fantasy. I have to admit that, before I started reading, I wondered how much the book’s content I would already know. As it turns out, only the broadest brushstrokes – about 2% would probably be a generous estimate and I haven’t yet got beyond the introduction!

This is important because unless we understand our history, we can’t hope to resolve the issues of our present, or build a better future. As Professor Olusoga writes: “Black British history is everyone’s history and is all the stronger for it.”

I’ll write the next update tomorrow. Please do let me know what you think. I’d also like to know what other people are reading.

Here’s the Day 2 update.

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