As we’re becoming an exceedingly more “woke” generation sometimes I genuinely ask this question. Do black people overplay the race card? I’m sure this question has already ruffled some feathers, but I have no intention of doing anything of the sort. I asked myself this recently after seeing a story on social media of an experience someone I follow shared. In all honesty… I don’t think what happened to them was race related. I’m not going to delve too deeply into what actually happened, but it did make me start thinking about the numerous other race related incidents that I have seen plastered on social media.

The most common race related incidents I see are ones of police brutality. To dispute the racial prejudices exercised by police in these situations would be a crime in and of itself. Whether or not the detainee is acting in a manner compliant with the police is beside the point. The amount of excessive force often used cannot be side barred as normal. I have to admit that when I began hearing about racially aggravated police brutality, I thought it was an issue that mainly affected the USA. More recently however, I’ve let go of this ignorant belief because racially aggravated police brutality is something that happens right on our very doorsteps. To link this back to the original question, I definitely think we now see more cases of police brutality as a result of social media but does sharing more on social media mean we’re overplaying the race card? Uhh…no! Just because something is more openly discussed does not mean it’s being overdone.

Aside from police brutality, on a more day to day level, I don’t think black people overplay the race card. However, I do think we need to be mindful of our approach to situations in which our race plays a role. What do I mean by this? I believe some people use their blackness as an excuse for almost everything that doesn’t go the way they want it to in life. Often times, yes, race does play a role but it’s not every situation that is race related. With this being said, some people even limit their own expectations/ opportunities simply because they believe their race will prohibit them from achieving something. STOP IT! RIGHT NOW! There are definitely some challenges that come with being a black person in the UK but I just don’t think this is a good enough excuse to lower your ambitions. It may be harder to get there than it is for some of your white counterparts but harder doesn’t mean impossible. Let’s stop disqualifying ourselves before we’re even at the starting blocks.

I don’t believe black people overplay the race card, I think it may come across that way to some simply because we are more aware of racial injustices and we’re much more vocal about these. Plus social media has given us a platform to be heard. So from this angle, I think we should keep doing the damn thing. However, on a day to day level and for personal growth, we need to stop using race as an excuse to limit ourselves. This doesn’t mean that racial prejudices don’t exist on a day to day level. It doesn’t mean it won’t hurt if you experience racial discrimination. And it certainly doesn’t mean nothing needs to be changed. What it simply means is you choose to no longer let these situations define who you are as a person and you’ll at least try before disqualifying yourself.

– Paula M



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