EMMETT J. Scanlan
Twitter is like a mirror. Every time I log on and hold it up to my 2020 face and see my devastatingly ugly reflection looking back at me, I reflect..
What the fuck did I expect?
We think karma would forget??
She never forgets.
Being an Irish man in the UK, I thought I knew what racism looked like. On the very rare occasion when someone called me a “Paddy cunt” “a leprechaun” “A pikey bastard” or shouting “Potato”, I thought I knew what racism looked like. But I didn’t really. I used to think that because the dress code for many drinking establishments was “No Blacks No dogs No Irish” that me and my brothers and sisters had a common bond. A bond born through oppression.. poor Paddy me and poor black them.
But the fact is when I walked away from a racist attack (and I use that term loosely in comparison), at least I walked away. And when I did I walked away white. I live in a world dripped in rich ivory white privilege, a privilege I didn’t even know fuckin existed until I was shown its opposite. And because of that, I don’t really know what racism FEELS like, do I?
The fact is in some parts of the world, for those very true friends of mine, that archaic dress code of the past still stands. It may not be confined within the walls of a pub, but it still stands. And that dress code asphyxiates the entire world.
Consciously or unconsciously we are part of that. We may dress it up with a slight of hand rhetoric to hide the insidious face that lies underneath, but it’s there. Beyond the smoke, beyond the mirrors, it’s fuckin there. It has always been there...
The fact is I don’t know what racism feels like. Not on a black level. Not on any level really. And to say I did, like I did, because I thought I did, was and is embarrassing.
We live in a world that loves to compartmentalise everything. It gives us this illusion of control. It helps us to normalise things. And what is normal??? Who decides that shit?? To me, normal is just a word made up by people who fear change. And a change has been coming. But before we can change it on a global level we must face it on a personal level.
My name is Emmett Scanlan and my favourite ice cream growing up was the Golly bar. It had a picture of a Golliwog on it, and it was the most amazing vanilla ice cream you ever tasted. That was the world I lived in. I didn’t question it. Didn’t particularly understand it or care too. Why? Because It was “normal”.
And it was home.
Kids nowadays, my daughter's generation and below sing “eeny meeny miny moe catch a tigger by the toe” when we sang it growing up we used a different word to tigger. Again I didn’t question it. Didn’t understand it. It was just “normal”. Everyone was saying it.
And again, It was home.
A racist joke here.
A racist joke there.
Home sweet fuckin home.
A foundation built on extreme ignorance and as a result of that, complicity & as a result of that, silence. The real violence.
Thinking back over the years I don’t think I’ve ever personally witnessed my friends of colour being victims of racism. But what scares me the most is, maybe I have and I just didn’t see it, maybe I have and I just didn’t recognise it. Like the song I used to sing or the ice cream I used to eat. Maybe I didn’t recognise it because it was “normal”. Because it had the same face as me. Because It looked like me. Sounded like me. And because of that, maybe it was me. And that my friends, scares the shit outta me.
I’ve been educating myself on the Black Lives Matter movement more and more since George Floyd, May 25th.
Maybe educate is the wrong word. Cause sometimes watching, listening and learning ain’t enough. It’s an excellent start but it ain’t enough. Cause it’s not as though I haven’t educated myself over the years. Of course I have. But sometimes being aware ain’t enough. We’re aware of a plethora of atrocities that happen globally on a daily basis, but few of us invest in it. To make any change you gotta INVEST in it, ye gotta care enough to drag yourself out of your own shit and wade into someone else’s shit, which is just an extension of your own shit anyway. Ye gotta allow yourself to not only know what’s going on at a cerebral level but on an emotional level. Put yourself in others' shoes. Once you have an emotional connection with it, and not just on a superficial “I feel bad” connection, I’m talking about a deep laceration connection, then you’re in. And then and only then will you wonder with some shame how you never saw, I mean REALLY saw what’s always been happening.
On a human level, on this particular race level, watching what’s happening in the world breaks my fuckin heart, cause i know we’re better than this. We have to believe we’re better than this.
For what it’s worth, I have always and will always be here for you.... and if you let me, I will stand and understand with all my brothers and sisters.
Because I want to understand. To REALLY understand. I want to learn. Cause I am learning.
You matter. You’ve ALWAYS mattered. You are my family. You’ve ALWAYS been my family.
I see you.
And I love you.
And I’m sorry. For me. For the other. For all of this. Black lives matter. Black lives matter.
Emmett John Scanlan: Father. Husband. Actor. Best known for his roles in Peaky Blinders, Gangs Of London, Butterfly & Krypton among others.