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'Am I invisible?': a social worker's poem on racial inequalities

Narinder Sidhu wrote this poem following the tragic death of George Floyd in Minneapolis

Photo of article author Narinder Sidhu

Published by Professional Social Work Magazine 2 June 2020 

Am I Invisible?

Who am I? 
I was born here. 
I was raised here. 
I never saw the pain which we all see in the world now, as my childhood was wonderfully sheltered.

So who am I?

I do not know...I see me.
But you see colour. 
You call me a British Asian. 

But who am I?

Some British Asians may argue that I am not them.
That's right, they sometimes do not see me. They do not want me to belong to their group.
Not only do I have to face discrimination from others, sometimes I have to face it from what I've been born into. 
They refer to me as a 'coconut', brown on the outside and white on the inside. Is this who I am?

Is it because I speak well and courageously about issues that matter? 

Or because I cannot conform to my exact place set in society? 

So who am I? 

Am I all those things above?

No, it's worse. I am also a woman.

I know what I am not.

I am not silent. 

I do not tolerate inequality. 

I challenge discrimination and fight for voices to be heard. 

I am courageous and stand alongside humanity because we are all in this together.

Who do I want to be?

I want to be brave and not let this ongoing battle beat me down. 

I want to stand with all my sisters and brothers. 

To keep them warm when they are feeling disheartened and worn out by the endless pain of racial inequality.

This is an uphill struggle, a battle many have been fighting a long time. 

Over the years, I have celebrated many other forms of inequalities moving forward successfully. However, racial inequalities are left behind.

Time and time again, we are having the same discussions, the same groups, the same marches...the same response!
There have been times where my voice has been lost ...unheard and forgotten too easily.
There have been times where I have been made to feel invisible.

Times where I have been deflated and found it hard to breathe.
This systematic discrimination and disguised eugenic policies must end now.
Systems that do not work should be abolished and created again and again.

Who am I? Am I invisible? Can you see me? Can you hear me? 

Nobody should be made to feel invisible. 
It is time to rise, stand tall and be proud of who we are ...we are human and every life matters.
Use your voice and let's work together to make those changes and celebrate being one race ...the human race!

Narinder is chair of BASW's Equality Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Group.