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CHARLES Babalola

Why is ending racism a debate?

Racism against myself and black people is something I came to accept and something the world never really wanted to listen to. Growing up as a Londoner I’ve experienced systemic racism for as long as I can remember. It becomes part of our fabric and our every day dialogue. It has me mentally scarred.

I’ll give some examples:

Walking down the street and fixing my posture so the white person walking towards me doesn’t feel intimidated or like I’m going to mug them.

Getting stopped by the police twice, questioned and arrested by the police because apparently, I looked liked the suspect they were looking for. Both times were mistaken identity.

Having a police car pull up behind me, knowing you’re more likely to get stopped because you’re black.

Having opposition football fans call you a monkey because your team beat their team.

Training yourself to conform to the tone that the person of power and authority wants to hear, because being too black will damage your chances of getting the job.

Hustling in the acting industry, where the great roles for black actors are few and far between. We have more depth than always playing the slave, the African guy, the Caribbean guy, lower status characters or the drug dealer. A limited amount of black actors have reached the pinnacle of the industry playing these roles, which speaks very loud when you really think about that statement.

You can find emotional depth and real lives in those individual characters but why are we limited to playing these roles? The Industry needs a serious reboot in making equal opportunities for all races, genders and sexes. This is the time for full inclusivity !!!

It’s crazy but millions of black people are screaming the same thing, this isn’t paranoia. This is what we live through every day. But there is a positive in all of this because for the first time in my life I actually feel like things can change.

What has changed?

Over the past few weeks I’ve had difficult and painful conversations with some of my white friends who didn’t seem to understand the movement and need for change.

‘We can’t win this fight without you’.  I passionately would explain.

Now they are listening and hearing what’s being preached. Now they are educating  themselves on the issues and only now are they making their voices heard. Standing alongside us. But we need more empathy, more understanding as human beings to eradicate this inaction and breakthrough the racist wall of resilience.

All we’re asking for is a fair opportunity in all walks of life.

I truly believe this is for the young world; The next generation and the generations after that. With cohesive movement we will aim to eradicate all the layers of deep-rooted Racism. If real action is taken we can finally live in a world where people accept each other for what we offer... and NOT because of the shade of your skin. It will be a long hard fight, but we ain’t stopping until there's change.

Charles Babalola is an actor known  for The Legend of Tarzan, Mary Magdalene and Gretel & Hansel.

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