A chat with Gamal 'G' Turawa where we discuss his perspectives of the world as Britain's first openly gay black (former) police officer on the world of today.
We are in the midst of a world dealing with the effects of COVID-19 and in the middle of this the shocking images and videos of George Floyd hit our screens. A man, a black man murdered by Police Officers in the US has now reignited the global #blacklivesmatter movement. Gamal doesn't speak for any one but himself, and we talk about the world we are in now, the impact of Grenfell Tower, Windrush and now this, together with about how White people need to understand what it means to be white and how they can help push the bolder up the hill to help take the strain of racism. Please join in the conversation and leave your comments below.
Jo sat down to talk to Gamal ‘G’ Turawa an openly gay black (former) police officer about why we need a more open dialogue on race.
Gamal’s key piece of advice is that we need to learn to ‘hear each other rather than tell each other’. It used to be that the black community were being asked to be the medicine and the cure, but people are now looking at what it means to be white; what does privilege mean and this opens the conversation.
We all want integration and to be able to build an empathy bridge between experiences but to do this we need to use something we relate to and apply it to what someone else is saying. Otherwise, although we hear each other we cannot empathise as we have no frame of reference.
Gamal believes the word ‘understanding’ is a barrier to building this bridge, we will never truly understand the world someone else lives in but to him it is about appreciating the fact that we do live in different worlds. People want to be recognised for who they are, not who you think they should be. Also, identity is not fixed, we all have multiple identities and Gamal believes you need to be clear on where you are speaking from and how you are communicating.
He frequently hears the phrase ‘when I see you I don’t see your colour’ something he finds offensive because although he doesn’t want to be judged by it he does want recognition that it is part of his identity, by dismissing it you are not seeing a part of a persons’ identity.
With the recent BLM movement Gamal believes it is important to recognise the past, we may not like what has happened but it is a part of our history and he believes that if we don’t know where we have come from, how do we know where we are going?’ We are not condoning the past it is about recognising it and using it to change the future. It is through others past endeavours that we have the right to voice our opinions today, a privilege that many do not appreciate the origins of. This highlights that privilege comes in a variety of different forms, not just skin colour and will ultimately affect our reactions; our fight or flight response is instinctive and will often surprise us, but by recognising when it surfaces and how you react to it you are able to question your own bias and potentially change your response.
Diversity has been likened to pushing a boulder uphill- with recent events a few more hands have joined but the question is how long the extra hands will stay and how much further they must go.
In his closing remarks Gamal says be angry but chose to do something with it, rather than let it become destructive.
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