I wrote this blog post in February as soon as Liam Neeson’s controversial interview and confession came out (BBC Article here). When my emotions run high I can write a blog post in one sitting with minimal editing – this was one of those posts. I wrote it and then I didn’t feel it was the right time to post but I knew I would post it one day. Today is that day.
We are in the middle of Black History Month which I think is fitting for what I am writing about here. For those that ask, why is there a need for Black History Month. I share this with you. For those that want to leave ‘things like this’ in the past – please, just for the time it takes you to read this, humour me. Put yourself in some ‘black-owned’ shoes and see how you would feel…
Dear Liam Neeson, I invite you to continue…
I am all ears. Sat in the front row. Wanting to understand where your confession came from. I want to learn the lessons you’ve learnt. What shift you had from unconscious to conscious. How did you right your wrongs?
“It shocked me and it hurt me” – does not cut it. Nor does feeling ‘ashamed’ and ‘awful’.
If you had been successful in your late night stomp and got to use your cosh on an innocent ‘black bastard’ – that would have been one black man down and you walking free. A white privileged man knowing he would have got away with murder.
YOU – was angry because your friend got raped. Bypassing that this person was a man – and not getting angry with men – YOU asked what colour he was. Liam – if he was a white man would you have turned the cosh on yourself or a friend? Or would you have realised this incident wasn’t about YOU – it was about your female friend. Did you ever ask her how you could best help? Or was this an excuse to have right to be racist?
Granted you haven’t been the one to blame the media for your ‘primal urge to lash out’ like many people have. It is true, the media doesn’t help the plight of the black person. We are forever painted as the bad person, inferior, troubled, poverty stricken, inhuman. It’s there when you open the paper, read a book, turn on the TV or the internet. Already I’ve seen the account change from ‘raped’ to ‘brutally raped’. The brutally just appeared – most probably to fight your side as the uproar continues and people aren’t believing your ‘I’m not racist’ spiel?
The media can’t be constantly used as a screen to face biases. My father (who fostered me when I was 6 months old), an avid reader of The Mirror, diligent viewer of the News at Ten, Born in 1931, white – not a racist.
The cynic in me is wanting to know – ‘Why now’? A statement which you must have known would send the media into overdrive. To throw such a shocking declaration into the ring what were you expecting?
The comments are coming in from all sides. The gobsmacked. The concerned. The privileged. The hurt. The unscathed. The know it all’s. The defenders. The boycotters. The trolls. And me? I am depleted.
Depleted of energy from yet another situation which makes my heart sink. I’m a natural optimist but I’m a realist too and it fucking stinks to know that in my life time things are not going to change. There are people in the world that are repulsed by me because of my skin colour. Repulsed! No matter how good a person I am, what I do in the world, who I help, what I achieve – there’ll always be that ‘black’ barrier.
To write a post is to ruffle feathers of the many people who have no problem with black people until these black people open their mouths. Upsetting the apple cart.
I want to know Liam did you think that you opening up, admitting you was wrong and claiming you’re not a racist would be water under the bridge because it was years ago? Years ago it may have been but it hurts now. Not because I’m an angry black woman, looking to cause trouble. It hurts because the cuts are so deep and they can’t heal as the knife is still in there, twisting and ripping it further open.
I thank you for your admission – although I invite you to continue. Tell me what you did about it? The 2 friends you admitted this to – were they people that looked like you? Did they tell you ‘That’s okay, because your friend was abused so you had a right to be angry and want to hate any black man’. Or did you speak to a black person? Tell them how you felt? Look them in their eyes. Their human eyes. See the emotions you stirred up in them? I can imagine it was the former.
Please Liam do not blame people for their anger, you’ve woken up memories that have not yet been put to bed. I cannot speak for all black people, nor would I want to, as we are NOT all the same – my fingerprints are my own.
I speak for myself when I say thank you. Thank you for your honesty. Thank you for keeping this conversation alive. Thank you for what you’re going to do next which is hopefully open the space allowing for people to speak.
*Feature image taken from https://www.blackhistorymonth.org.uk/ – be sure to visit their site to see how you can get involved and become more aware.