@DeniseBranch recently posted about her delight upon seeing a car in front of her in USA displaying an anti-racism sticker and how important these small acts are appreciated in the fight against #racism. https://www.linkedin.com/posts/denise-branch-530938107_endracism-endantiblackness-endxenophobia-activity-6568216161438228480-XB8L
Many BAME (Black and Minority Ethnic) people individually battle daily with racism, often in pockets of isolation and sometimes in full public glare while trying to perform at the top of their game aka Black Footballer’s. It’s akin to having to work twice as hard with a big smile despite the ball and chain on your ankle. Denise’s post has prompted me to recall a photograph of a lovely young man, Ben Smythshared with me and we agreed I could share it, if the right moment came along as it’s a lovely story.
Ben was an active football player who due to a knee injury had his fledging ambitions curtailed. He is an avid football fan but also became a dedicated follower of the much-loved BBC TV series ‘Bake Off’ competition, so we have a shared interest. He loves to come over to sample the food my husband cooks and my baking. In fact, he’s coming over today so I will keep this short.
One of the most high-profile winners of the ‘Bake Off’ show (2015) was Nadiya Hussain,a young Bangladeshi mother with the most endearing smile and facial expressions that beautifully captured the hi’s and lo’s of her journey to stardom.
- After winning in 2015 I recall Nadyia’s heart felt words that still stay with me: “I’m never gonna put boundaries on myself ever again. I’m never gonna say I can’t do it.”
- “I’m never gonna say ‘maybe’. I’m never gonna say, ‘I don’t think I can.’ I can and I will.”
So no matter what you excel at, it’s always a good confidence booster when someone let’s you know they appreciate all your hard work.
Ben had clearly not realised the effect it would have upon him seeing his hero Nadiya Hussain literally pull up alongside him whilst boringly driving along in Milton Keynes, eyes fixed on the road ahead. Suddenly, he did a double take and started hyperventilating in excitement. The traffic lights changed before he could attract Nadiya’s attention with his frantic waving at her. She either was genuinely focused elsewhere or pretended not to see this somewhat strange young white man waving and then banging on his window repeatedly: ‘was he friend or foe?’ So animated was Ben, he paid no heed to how he might be perceived in the context of the racist hate she had also experienced alongside the appreciation. Hurt can leave a lasting impression.
Either way Ben was determined not to leave her side until he had said a proper ‘Hello, love your work’ moment. He, some would say ill advisably, such was his youthful exuberance, decided to chase after her in his car for some miles, both speeding up until he finally managed to pull alongside and ask with a winning smile for a photo. Reassured he was a fan, Nadiya was met by 6’ 7” Ben who thoughtfully crouched down to Nadiya’s height so as not to inadvertently intimidate her any more than he had already done so! They had a laugh at how he must have appeared when persistently waving and following her.
So, we all need to to be able to put ourselves in other people’s boots as we don’t know what their back story is. This is a happier story than the one many BAME experience when waving for an empathetic response to their pain feeling they are saying: ‘I am drowning not waving’. So take a moment and use your smile and wave this weekend to delight someone.
Safia Boot – Founder Respect at Work Limited
Date: Saturday 17 August 2019
© Respect at Work Ltd
#Appreciation #SelfEsteem #SelfConfidence #Racism #Diversity #Inclusion #Smile #Love #Football #BakeOff #BBC #NadiyaHussain