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In my words: Rownita Marston

To mark Black History Month, Rownita Marston speaks about what Black History Month means to her, personal experiences of racism, the importance of diversity and loving who you are.

Written by: Rownita Marston

Black History Month is one of the biggest months of the year to me. It is a chance to bring to light all the amazing achievements of black people, both historically and in day-to-day life. It is a month where we celebrate each other and continue to uplift one another, but also speak about the inequality that we experience every day.

I have been fortunate to have only experience one act of overt racism. Unfortunately, this happened in one of the most inclusive places of all: on a rugby pitch. I was singled out in a team argument (where I was defusing the situation), and was then met with false accusations and racist comments. This shocked me as I had never experienced anything like this before, and I did not know how to react or what to do. The only positive in this situation was that I wasn’t alone; my team mates stood up for me and were just as shocked as I was.

Luckily, this was a one off experience, but day to day I do experience micro-aggressions. The Black Live Matter movement has helped me realise the extent of these micro-aggressions, and their implications. Before, I thought this was just a normal experience to have, probably because it has happened for the majority of my life.  For example, I am often scrutinised more heavily by security guards when I go to the shops with my white friends, and people automatically assume that I am going to be sassy and rude when they first meet me, but then act surprised to find that I completely the opposite. These are just a few things that I continue to experience daily, as do most black people.

Rugby is still the most inclusive places and sport that I have ever been involved with. Everyone accepts you for you regardless of your colour, religion, sexuality, shape, or size. You are always accepted with open arms. Despite my previous experience on the pitch, this hasn’t stopped my love for the game. If anything it has made me love it more, because that experience showed me that when something nasty like that happens, your teammates will always have your back and fight for injustice and racism with you. These girls are like my family, and they are the kind of people you need on your side to continue fighting for what is right, both on and off the pitch.

As a black woman, I should not be “fortunate” to only have a few encounters with racism. I should not feel “lucky” to not be judged or abused about the colour of my skin, which is something that I cannot control. In the near future, I hope that movements like the Black Lives Matter campaign are no longer needed, and that we do not need to have Black History Month. Instead, I hope we can just celebrate the amazing human beings (who happen to be black) who have paved the way for us in the school curriculum. I am extremely proud to be a black woman, but there is more to me then the colour of my skin. I hope that in the future we as a human race will judge each other on what we are like as people, and not our appearance. I cannot wait for the day that we are all seen as equal, but until then we will keep working to make our world a better place for the next generation.

I am proud to be a BEAR, I am proud to be a good person, I am proud to be black, but most importantly I am proud to be me. 


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