Kemi Badenoch = the business secretary - told the Conservative Party Conference yesterday that Britain is the best country in which to be black.
It was good to hear, but I would suggest there is still a long way to go and I am not sure that the 'long way' can easily be shortened.
I spent twenty years teaching in the West Midlands - most of that time in a Comprehensive S chool in one of the most deprived areas of Wolverhampton. I retired in 1983, stayed in the city for another two years and then came up here with my first husband - who had taught in the Prison Service in the West Midlands - in what were then Detention Centres and Borstals (I don't think either exist any more). Our school was -roughly - a third West Indian (mostly Jamaican), a third young people from Pakistan (almost all Sikh), and a third white - from a deprived area of the city.
If there was racism in school I can't say I ever came across it. The city was such a mixture of races even as far back as that that it was largely accepted.
Moving up here was a bit of a revelation in that here in The Dales there was hardly a black face to be seen. We have a Chinese take-away but I have never seen either of the people who run it outside of the premises - they presumably live elsewhere. We have a good pizza take away and two \Indian restaurants - both very good I understand. But the Proprietors of all live in the Bradford area (where there is a large community) and travel up daily - and work jolly hard.
Our Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, happens to be our Constituency MP and on the whole his is the only 'non-white' face ever seen.
Until last week-end when a black (I would guess West Indian) young man walked past my bungalow in walking gear and carrying a rucksack - we live on the approach road to several walks featured in walking books.
The only 'local' jobs, apart from the Building Trade (plenty of building firms and decorating firms up here ) are jobs in quarrying and farming/agriculture. People tend to sell up in the South and move up here where property is cheaper thus giving them money to spare on updating/adding to property they have bought.
So this is not an area to attract an influx of black people. Who can blame them for wishing to stay together. It must be so very isolating for a family to move alone into such an 'alien' environment.
I remember when Rishi Sunak fir st stood for this constituency in a General Election I was appalled to hear a friend remark that he would never 'get in. ' She was sure 'people here will never vote for someone with a black face'. Having just moved up here from a very multi-cultural school and city this was an alien remark - and as it happened not true anyway. He got in easily (after following William Hague!)
Speaking to young people before I retired - over and over again they said that they did not wish ever for people to not notice their colour. They were black, I was white - they needed to be seen for who they were and what kind of person they were - regardless of the colour of their skin.
I hope that in large connurbations that state is being reached but in areas like this not so I'm afraid. It is, I am sure, still a case of 'colour first' ''what kind of person they are" second. I fear it will be so for a long time to come sadly - and I can't think of any way of making it otherwise.