Michelle Thomas grew up in London, went to school in Sandwich and moved to Ramsgate in 2015. She works in PR and marketing.
Here she talks about Black Lives Matter and extends an invitation to South Thanet MP Craig Mackinlay:
A couple of weeks ago my nine year old son, my five year old dog, and I walked from Ramsgate to Broadstairs on a sunny Saturday afternoon. It’s a walk we often do, ending in lunch or an ice cream at Morellis, but this time it was different.
We walked as part of a group of more than a thousand people. Everyone was masked, and maintaining social distancing. We walked quietly, somberly, in our black clothes, apart from when we chanted. We were there to mark the death of a man who none of us knew.
Say his name. George Floyd.
Why were we marching for a man we didn’t know? A man on the other side of the world, murdered by a policeman who knelt on his neck as he gasped for breath and called out for his mother?
For me, George Floyd’s death is the match that lit the touchpaper. We have a Prime Minister who writes about picanninies with watermelon smiles and regrets the end of colonialism and a white supremacist as the leader of the free world.
It’s more than 50 years since Dr Martin Luther King was assassinated and yet black and brown people all over the globe are still exploited by a system that doesn’t see them – see me – as fully human. British people didn’t just act out of solidarity. We acted because we too struggle against racism. We are ‘lucky’. We live in a ‘tolerant’ society… Tolerant. Thanks for allowing us to be here, as long as we behave…
It was from this burning sense of injustice that the Black Lives Matter movement was born. There isn’t enough space for me to explain the long and ignoble history of racism in the US but suffice it to say it is essentially apartheid, and as in South Africa, the police are a crucial part of it.
In 2012 Trayvon Martin, a teenage boy, was walking through a Florida neighbourhood when he was shot. Shot for going to the shop to buy Skittles. The man who shot him was acquitted. The ensuing protests and outrage was the start of the BLM hashtag, and it has now spread to 36 countries.
A lot of people object to this. ‘All lives matter’ they say. Well, of course all lives matter. Black lives matter AS WELL. Black lives are threatened in ways that other lives aren’t. Black Lives Matter is a global movement seeking justice for everyone. A racist society is toxic for all who live in it.
So I was extremely disappointed by Mr Mackinlay’s newsletter yesterday (June 22) – on Windrush Day, of all days, a day created, FINALLY, to celebrate the lives of the people who came to rebuild a country that has barely recognised their contributions – comparing Black Lives Matter to Nazis with his references to burning books.
No one wants to burn books. We’d like more books. We’d like more inclusive history. We’d like children to be taught about the great civilisations of the Asante and Great Zimbabwe, and the university at Timbuktu. We’d like not to be asked where we are ‘really from’ when we say ‘London’ and we’d like not to have our hair touched without permission, because we aren’t dogs.
Why are some people so threatened by the idea of equality? Fear of a Black Planet? Maybe, but black people don’t want revenge. We don’t want to subjugate white people. We just want equality. Fairness. A level playing field. I don’t want to be having the ‘talk’ with my son. I don’t still want to be fighting this fight in 2030, 2040, 2050.
Mr Mackinlay, I extend an open invitation to you, to discuss the Black Lives Matter movement, and racism in Thanet.
Michelle has written an open letter to Mr Mackinlay asking for a retraction of the comments and requesting a meeting with local BAME and other community groups.
People can add their names on the Anti-racist Thanet facebook page @equalityinthanet
Give it a rest dear. We know what the protesters were protesting about in America. However those protesting in the U.K. are just exploiting the situation for their own ends and it is not got anything to do with racism. It’s just yet another bandwagon to jump on. When I was at school I was bullied because I wore glasses and had a stutter it never occurred to me it might’ be because of my skin. I dealt with it in my way, when I applied for promotion in the NHS and never got it I did not say it was to do with my skin colour. Gays, bisexuals, black white brown, whoever we are we are what we are humans beings. Most are good decent caring some not.
Ann, you sound very naive. Perhaps this is a subject you would benefit from reading up on. Best wishes. Lorraine Williams
Ann I too was bullied for wearing glasses. The difference is you can remove your glasses, get contacts or have laser surgery. I never had a stutter, I imagine it must have been painful and difficult growing up.
THAT is how a good, decent, caring person responds to someone else’s story.
They don’t say ‘give it a rest.’
Oh Anne, or should I call you Dave? Yeah it is you isn’t it? you naughty trollette. Honestly, if your not trying to get the stains out of your St George’s cross flag, your masquerading as a person of colour! Now that burnt out fiesta that’s still on your drive, are you ever going to move it? Dave, it’s alright, there’s help out there if you want it. This charade has to end sometime, if Karen finds out she’ll be livid. Now look, next time your Giro comes instead of spending it on a Britain First onesie and some Special Brew, get yourself some professional help. Ok Hun?
Ann, why do you need to be offensive by saying ‘ give it rest dear’. This expression is patronizing to a person who has the courage of her convictions, who is trying to support fellow human beings. Your points are not relevant to the issue and are the usual strategy of racists who always broaden an issue to avoid the point being discussed. However I am sure you are not racist and merely made a mistake in writing what you did.
Ann “Give it a rest dear”. How patronising is that?
Lorraine I respect your opinion, giving my opinion is my legal right to do so.
Michelle, well-said and I have signed your letter.
Hi Ann, I’m Michelle, I wrote this.
I too wear glasses and was teased about them. But the thing about glasses is that you can get contacts or have laser surgery. I never had a stutter. I can imagine how hard that must have been. If you wrote an article about how tough you found it living with a stutter, how would you feel if I responded as you have? If you truly are, as you say, a decent caring person, you would listen, and try to understand. It’s not all about you.
Michelle, I have worked in a very busy London hospital for nearly 40 years, I know all about equality, all my colleagues have been treated equally in their work as well of course as the patients, I only see the person not the colour or race. There are problems in the world and in daily life, in my view by highlighting those problems in the wrong way can exacerbate the problem instead of helping it. Just my opinion.
Black women are more likely to die in childbirth. (https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-47115305)
Black people are more likely to be sectioned under the mental health act.
As a medical professional, if you ignore race, you might miss a condition like sickle cell anaemia.
There is nothing wrong with seeing colour. Seeing colour as LESS is the problem.
Giving your opinion is one thing, but stating that your opinion is a defence for telling someone to “give it a rest dear” is another.
It’s plain and simple rude.
If you don’t like it, skip to the next article.
I also wear glasses, I was also bullied for that, I still wear them, I was lucky enough that I could escape the bullying. I’m also Jewish, I’ve never been able to remove my nose to avoid the anti-Semitic abuse I’ve received in the street.
Black people cannot remove their skin, and when they have police or racist thugs kneeling on their neck/backs/chests (delete as appropriate per the specific case) for 7,8,9,10-30 minutes until they die, they cannot escape the racism.
It’s not an American problem, it’s a global problem. Just a single case out of the many many in the UK for you as an example, Joy Gardner, 13 metres of tape wrapped around her mouth by police & immigration officers in front of her 5yr old son. Needless to say she died.
Should I give it a rest now?
Hello Ann, I worked in the NHS in London from 1976 to 1991, as a Porter and then a nurse. I saw many examples of racism, from patients to staff, staff to patients and staff to staff. I saw all kinds of people, some behaved badly because this was their normal, to everyone. But others saved their behaviour for certain groups of people.
Worse there were processes within the NHS that fostered discrimination against people who were not white.
I can’t imagine where you worked without seeing this?
Garry and what action did you take at the time ?
Thank you Michelle for writing this letter, which I am sure reflects the majority view of residents in Thanet. You have our full support.
We never know all about anything,let alone equality.
I too have worked in the NHS and social care and sadly colleagues are not always treated equally and neither are patients. We mad aspire to equality but this has not been the reality of my working life.
Jane and what action did you take to record your concerns?
Thanks for explaining it all Michelle. I was there at the demonstration in Broadstairs. Impressive and moving to see so many people feeling so passionate about injustice.
The Black Lives Matter movement was not formed out of a “Burning sense of injustice” Its founders have stated that they are “Trained Marxists”. Stokely Carmichael a vile black supremacist Marxist invented the propaganda myth of “Institutionalised Racism” in 1968.
When black racists were hijacking the Stephen Lawrence case in 1993 a conveniently visiting Marxist terrorist ally of the IRA, Mandela, involved himself and created unlawful political pressure on police. At the time there was a murder trial in London The defendants were UDA terrorists (:loyalist terrorists) arrested at their Margate Kent base in 1992 by Regional Crime Squad. Among those who armed UDA was apartheid regime intelligence. Hence Mandela had interests (plural) in the UDA facing murder charges for killing of a London police informant David Norris. A man who provided police information leading to warrant raids later reported as finding nothing. Police stripped drugs pushers of drugs and cash and reported “Nothing found”
It was senior Met witnesses at the high security murder trial who were allocated the Stephen Lawrence murder inquiry at same time as their high security trial status continued. Something very unusual was going on in the Lawrence case (Stephen was killed at day 6 of the Norris murder trial) even before black racist activists like Lee Jasper and Ros Howells moved in on the tragedy ….
All that is needed to break the Lawrence private prosecution and the Keir Starmer 2012 public prosecution in the Lawrence case is evidence that there were recent rival gang fights at Well Hall Road. And blood spatter transfer in fact cannot be isolated to the murder scene. But we saw the unedifying sight anyway of passionate critics of the Dr Kelly inquiry hypocritically keep quiet when the forensics Scientist they discredited for blood spatter evidence at Kelly Inquiry boldly went forth to find a Lawrence blood speck on Gary Dobsons distinctive jacket.
These very same hypocrites cry their crocodile tears about “Injustice” they deludedly feel is any part of the Marxist BLM destabilising exercise.
Bojo has appointed Munira Mirza re racial equalities. Munira has the commendable independence of mind to not believe in “Institutional racism” And cult like at her heresy (No surprises) BLM call for her to be sacked while in their next breath they purport to be champions of justice.
Gary. In all the years I have worked in nursing management in large London hospitals nearly 40 years, not once have myself or my team colleagues I worked with had to investigate any complaints of racism from staff or patients. We had lots of other complaints to look into regarding other matters but not one of racism.
Haha.. Richard & Ann going on about nonsense because they don’t have the capacity to listen and instead think of themselves as above the line authorities who know better. Are you afraid of your own position in society or in your self that you need to be above another? An authority because you have no control in your own life? Ann, your issues are not remotely comparable and you have obviously do not grasp the situation nor the dynamics involved. So, I would advise you to stop talking, and spend time learning a thing or two or returning to the ancient crevice you seem to aspire to seek. Then we have Richard.. it’s now Marxist. Like even if it was true, that’s a bad word (it was a reaction to dealing w/ this and to maybe bring it to light to those so blinded like yourself). My days my friend. Are you so upset too? Is it breaking your precious reflection of self? Is your ego shrinking more then normal? Are you constantly trying to demonise everything you fear? Anyway, your long rants only apply to similar people looking for a way to delude their crumbling sense of self in this false reality. Coming from a country of ‘real’ terrorists who disseminated several cultures & religions (past existence so worse the removing a sculpture of blood money lines) and now realises this story is not the shining example they thought they were. Sorry guys, you are not telling anyone how or what things are. They are correcting you. So, get in line and suck it up. You are not a figure of authority & your outdated thinking is an iceberg floating it’s way out..in fact melting. If you have children, please don’t send them along this same isolated path This is about history and it’s truth. not your bumble bee play time story. ✌?
So now we know who are the white supremacist in our area, the most vocal, the ones who quote spurious one sided history at length; in fact all the hallmarks of fascist propaganda. The comments on the murder of Stephen Lawrence are most offensive. These people are probably holocaust deniers as well !
My father fought and died to enable these people to express their vile opinions
But of course the people, who don’t provide any referencing to their histories or give their full names.
Anyone who thinks racism isn’t an issue in the UK is extremely ill informed and a big part of the problem.