Spilling the Tea With Francisca Rockey - Being a young black woman in Britain
This week we’re spilling the tea with blogger Francisca Rockey. So far, we’ve chatted about the blogosphere, taking a last minute gap year, how we can work to save the world and dating. Today, in the final post of the series, we’re talking about being a young black woman in Britain - and guys, the tea is piping hot.
As a young black woman, what are your thoughts on racism in Britain? Is it getting better, worse?
Racism is prevalent in the UK. A lot of people will say “Britain is the least racist nation” but it really isn’t. If you genuinely think racism in Britain isn’t a thing then you’re either living under a rock or you are racist. Racism isn’t just shouting slurs at someone, its crossing the road when you see a black boy with their hood up walking towards you.
We’re seeing a rise in black and mixed race celebrities, such as grime artists and social influencers, with the likes of Stormzy, Oloni, Grace Victory and Kelechi Okafor all using their platforms and voices to try and bring about change and all being celebrated for it, yet racism is still rife on the streets. Do you think they’re having an impact on how black people are being treated on a day to day basis, or is it instead leading to a lot more cultural appropriation and fetishisation of these black celebs?
I think black and mixed race celebrities and social influencers are having a huge impact on how black people are being treated and are helping to dismiss cultural appropriation and fetishization. Kelechi regularly tweeting about the systematic racism towards black women and how opportunity is taken away from us, Stormzy has been very vocal about police brutality, knife crime and the Grenfell tower incident. All of these are things that people are fully aware of and turn a blind eye to but when people with such a huge following or social impact are openly discussing them, we are forced to face the facts and acknowledge the issues within our communities. It’s not just affecting me, your average Joe, its affecting everyone and that’s what their power highlights.
What struggles have you faced as a young black woman in Britain?
As a young black woman in Britain, I have faced being stereotyped and sexualised. There’s a stereotype of black woman that we are aggressive, angry and loud, I don’t fit the stereotype and because of that I have been called a bounty, Malteser, white girl and all sorts of slurs that essentially mean that I’m a white girl in a black girls body. I start by saying, I’m black. It might come as a surprise to some of you but I’m blackitty, black, black. I don’t conform to my stereotype and that doesn’t mean I’m not black, I am Francisca Rockey and not a stereotype. I went to a predominately white nursery, primary school, high school and sixth form, hence I have a lot of white friends. I’ve been surrounded by them so why wouldn’t I be friends with them? I have plenty of black friends too. I don’t braid my hair, wear weave or a wig, I have my natural hair out but I’m not less black than black girls who do have those hairstyles. People seem to have a stereotype of black people and when you don’t match their view of us as “ghetto”, you’re labelled as being a “sell out” or an “oreo”. I think people forget that no matter your race, you do not have to conform to how your race is represented. I am well-spoken and yes, I listen to “black music” and I also listen to “white music” and guess what? I’m still black.
Do you think Donald Trump’s racist attitude and behaviours are impacting the views of people in Britain?
Under Trump’s governance, America has become such a backward developed country. I think Trump’s attitude and behaviour has an enormous impact on the views of people in Britain. Trump believes immigrants are the reason for almost all of America’s problems, but the truth is, America is nothing without immigrants, just like Britain. The idea that immigration is a problem was used as a strong push to get people to vote to leave the EU.
Imagine what Britain would be without immigration? Of course they can’t let everyone live and work here but to say it’s a problem creates a negative view of immigrants who are already living in the UK. I’ve heard people say “immigrants are taking our jobs”… Now Dave, I don’t see you going to study medicine for 5 years to become a Doctor, those immigrants have and are qualified to do the job so they’re getting the job. I also hear “immigrants are taking over” we all enjoy a curry from your local Indian or Chinese - without said immigrants, all there’d be is fish and chips. Just to ruin your evening, fish and chips isn’t a British delicacy either. Fried fish was brought to Britain by Jewish immigrants from eastern Europe.
All in all, America belongs to the natives. Remember it was colonised by white men, they took something that wasn’t there’s. It never was and never will be a white country. Period.
There’s no denying that there is still an issue between the police of Britain and black people; namely their continual “random selections” for drug searches, car stops and of course the way they treat black “criminals” in comparison to white ones. Do you think this is an issue we will ever be able to resolve? How?
The way police in Britain treat black people in comparison to white people is disgusting and the only way to resolve the issue is for police to change their view of black people, particularly black men as “thugs”, “roadmen” and “criminals”. While holding this view of them, they’re unable to distinguish between the real criminals and a simple passer-by, their inability to do so will only increase hatred towards the police. Are they here to protect us or are they here to get rid of us by placing us in jail? I particularly hate how a black person can commit the same crime as a white person but if they claim that the white person has had a tough childhood and sufferers from mental health issues, they get away with it. Who hasn’t had a tough childhood? I don’t think any of our lives have been plain sailing and everyone has suffered or will suffer mentally at one point in their life. What makes white people so deserving of special treatment?
Who are the black people you think we need to be listening to in order to make sure we’re living in a society that’s equal and fair for all? Do we just need to listen to all black people?
We should be listening to all black people. We are no greater than our neighbour and what I have to say is no less than what someone with a higher social impact, who’s older or a professional has to say. When society decides to listen to all our voices and acknowledge the issues that we are presenting them with then change can happen.
It's been a pleasure to spill the tea with Fran - she is so intelligent, genuine and honest, getting to hear her thoughts on some pretty current topics was so interesting. I hope you've all enjoyed my Spilling The Tea series, and if you'd like me to feature it again with someone else, let me know!
Just a reminder that you can find Fran on Twitter at @franciscarockey or visit her blog over at www.franciscarockey.co.uk