The month of October brings an important focus on Black History, celebrating the successes of black people; whilst criticising the racial discrimination still prevalent in our society. We are presented with ongoing debates of racism, and the issue of white privilege in social, economic and political constructs.
In British politics, black politicians face a racial issue of underrepresentation and prejudice within the political system, often being ignored or undermined by white politicians. Whilst we are living in a multicultural society, the outdated term, ‘the white male club’ reiterates the white-male domination predominantly in British politics, seeing the underlying issues of black politicians facing less media attention and public acceptance. Mainstream media prioritises headlines to be focused on the successes of white politicians; very rarely are the achievements of black politicians, particularly women, headlined in mainstream media.
Instead of turning a blind eye to political discrimination, our society has a duty to change attitudes towards how we view black people in politics
Consequently, we see many black politicians in a plea for change, something the ‘Business Insider’ addresses as it hears black politician’s personal accounts of working in Parliament. The local Labour MP for Vauxhall, Florence Eshalomi, recounts her own experience in politics to be undermined by other politicians, stating that, ‘’being a black woman involved in politics was not going to be an easy ride. People were always going to question whether you should be there’, faced by one of her colleagues asking, ‘‘I’d like to see one of the real councillors’.
Florence Eshalomi’s account encapsulates the complex battle black politicians face in British politics; their credibility and professionalism being undermined by those who hold white prejudice. Instead of turning a blind eye to political discrimination, our society has a duty to change attitudes towards how we view black people in politics. As a society, we still have a long way to go to ensure our political system is equally represented with black politicians, particularly black women. Racial discrimination in British politics, and social attitudes has to change in order to gain progress in political equality.
The success of the recent Black lives matter movement has impacted positively on the nations attitude towards white privilege and the issues black people face on a daily basis. There is a growing consciousness, especially amongst young people, black and white, who stride forward to make change and in turn this will hopefully lead to a brighter future for not only black politicians but every black person in the UK.