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Breaking Out of the Mould

How have we already gotten to the end of The Chronicles of a Good Immigrant series?! The exploration of the various topics that I've discussed throughout the series has taught me a lot about both society and myself, which has made me look at things from a completely different perspective on my experience in the UK.

Despite sounding like it's all been doom and gloom, I want to make it extremely clear that I am eternally grateful to have moved to the UK when I did and I am very aware that my life would have panned out very differently had I remained in Kenya. I made the most out of my free education in Scotland which has allowed me to be in the position that I am in now. Most of the academic/professional opportunities that I got to experience were accessible to me because I lived in the UK , the vocalised person that I am has been shaped largely by my proximity to a westernised way of living and not to mention the people that I have met throughout my life, who I could not imagine living without.

The gratefulness has shifted slightly though. I speak for most ethnic minority immigrants when I say that we have been programmed to have a particular 'grateful complex'. The grateful complex is the feeling that you shouldn't dare complain about the racism, xenophobia, bigotry etc. that happens because you should just be thankful that you have a better life in the UK than you would have in your home country. I know this to be true as I've heard it countless of times from people close to me from different ethnic minority backgrounds. While the latter part may be true for some, it will never excuse having to be dehumanised in your new home and no-one should have to accept it. The topics that I discussed throughout this series were hard for me to write about, never mind share, as I had to be honest with myself about how I glamourised my life in the UK before and that these albeit painful truths are not exaggerations. Did previous generations have it worse? Absolutely. But, why are we still having the same conversations and experiences that they fought so hard to abolish? I'm not sure if it's a consequence of getting older and being more aware about current affairs, but it sure does seem like the UK is on a slippery slope to a life like the olden days (if we're not already there).

So when did things change for me?

As I mentioned before, the older I was getting the more injustices I seen happening to people who look like me over the years, which of course always rattled me. I truly felt like my voice mattered when I began listening to other Black women speak about their experiences and perspectives on what was happening, a couple of years ago. Last year I really began the work. There have been many times when I've felt embarrassed by my lack of knowledge on Black history and even Britain's history or battled with the idea of "why should I have to do this" or "am I even that qualified to speak on these topics?". The thing is, the longer I let these ideas take over my mind the less value I'm putting out in to the world.

I'm slowly moving out of the box society, people around me and my head put me in. I'm slowly breaking out of the mould of a 'good immigrant' and into the person I need to be to create even an ounce of change in the world. Remembering that two things can exist at the same time has allowed me to be grateful for my life in the UK thus far, whilst remaining grounded and seeing the country for what it truly is. I'm challenging you to do the same. Break out of the mould that tells you that you have no voice and that if you're not racist then that's all the work you have to do. So often when I talk to White people around me the number one thing I hear is that they're too scared to do/say the wrong thing and don't feel like it's their place to do anything. If everyone thought the same about racism, we wouldn't be in the position that we're in. But, people acted on a racialised system and continued to empower it, so why can't we all do the same to dismantle it? As awful as it was to watch Sarah Everard's death unfold, it should not take a White woman to be horrifically murdered by a police officer for everyone to recognise police brutality.

Listen, speak up and empower others to use their voices for change because people's lives depend on it.

Andddd that's the end of the series but of course it won't be the end of me chatting about these topics/my experiences. I hope you have gained something from the series and are looking forward to the next theme launching in April - keep your eyes peeled for what it'll be on my socials! Head over to my Instagram for more frequent content and make sure to SUBSCRIBE so you don't miss a thing on the blog. Sending you lots of positivity as we head into a new month soon ✨

Until next time,

D x

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