BLM should be catalyst to end racism once and for all | Matt Mohan-Hickson

Black Lives Matter. These three simple words are probably the only ones I should be writing this week.

Tuesday, 9th June 2020, 11:13 am
Updated Tuesday, 9th June 2020, 11:13 am
VOICES: The Black Lives Matter protest in Guildhall Square. Picture: Saffron Watson Photography

After all, I am probably not the person to be pontificating on the death of George Floyd and the issues of systemic racism around the globe since I am yet another straight white man with a column.

But to remain silent is to be complicit and instead I want to urge everyone to listen.

There is a reason that hundreds of people were willing to put themselves at risk and protest in Guildhall Square last week to highlight issues of racism in the US and here in the UK.

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You might have thoughts about the demonstration here or in other parts of the country but now is the time to listen.

Go to Netflix and watch Ava DuVernay’s documentary 13th. Look up what George The Poet had to say on Newsnight last week. Track down John Boyega’s speech during the Black Lives Matter protest in London on June 3. Search for podcasts on Spotify or whatever platform you use.

Load YouTube and watch the impassioned speech by perhaps America’s greatest orator the rapper Killer Mike. Read the writings of Ta Nehisi Coates or Toni Morrison or James Baldwin.

If you find yourself wanting to write All Lives Matter or something of a similar sentiment, take a moment to pause and look up why this is problematic.

Now is the time for us to listen and understand why the Black Lives Matter campaign is needed here at all. It is easy for the vast majority of people in this country to question the point of the protests since we are fortunate enough to have never experienced racism. This country is 87 per cent white after all.

But sadly racism, and not just the overt kind, still exists in modern British society.

So now is time for the majority of the country to listen to the concerns from the Black Lives Matter campaign. When we have listened, we need to work to eradicate racism, which is easier said than done I know.

But sharing a black square or signing a petition isn’t enough.

Forget air bridges, I want to see my family before 2021

Last week I made clear what I think about talk of overseas holidays in 2020. It’s ludicrous anyone would consider trips to the sun in a pandemic.

Benidorm, Magaluf and Zante will still be there next year when, fingers crossed, we have a vaccine and the world has returned to normal.

Yet calls for ‘air bridges’, meaning tourists can enjoy a break without having to go into quarantine, continue to grow. A more pressing issue should be when we can travel to see families here. My parents live in the north-east, my brother is in the north-west. It would be nice to see them before 2021.

That’s what the government should prioritise, not getaways abroad.

I hope Premier League stays on the BBC after this season

Bournemouth v Crystal Palace will be historic – the first Premier League match shown live on the BBC.

The Beeb has not had live coverage of the league since it was formed in 1992. But coronavirus means fans can’t attend games for the foreseeable future.

The BBC will also show four more matches live in the rest of the season. Sky will show 25 on free-to-air channels. Hopefully the BBC will continue to get a few live games a season. Not everyone can afford Sky or BT.

Too much sport is locked behind paywalls and you need multiple subscriptions to follow all the action. It’s time live league football returned to terrestrial TV.