Today’s question is “What practical steps can we all take to avoid everyday racism and where might we go wrong?” and I’m in conversation with Ann Marie Christian
Ann Marie is an award-winning International Safeguarding Consultant.
Ann Marie’s Links:
Please note, the transcript is auto generated.
Pooky Knightsmith: welcome to Pooky ponders, the podcast where I explore big questions with brilliant people. I’m perky Knight Smith. And I’m your host today’s question is what practical steps can we all take to avoid everyday racism and where might we go wrong? And I’m in conversation with Ann Marie Christian
Ann Marie Christian: say, my name is Ann Marie Christian, and I’m social worker by trade, um, qualified 24 years and being in the world of trying to child protection safeguarding. Since my late teens, when my mother was a foster carer. I for the first time ever, I was exposed to, um, young people who had different lives, you know, experiences should I say than I did.
Um, and understanding that, you know, the whole kind of local authority, social work kind of world. Um, and then I kind of drew me into, um, I think then I was a hairdresser and a beautician, but I kind of was doing around, making people look better. And then I met in the world of making people feel better in social work and child protection.
So this is my degree, blah, blah, blah. And then it was more about the wellbeing and also understanding people with no voice and making them feel good about themselves, regardless of what they’ve been through. I think when I look back at my kind of moral compass and values app was always one of those parts there, and everyone’s got a voice regardless what you look like.
Um, and then, yeah, let me try them today. So, um, being a manager for 17 years and I was based in a school 21 years ago, Um, and I was a children and family social worker prior to that. Um, and again, I’ve worked with always in multiculturalism all the way for my career when I first qualified. Um, you know, so where I am today, I’m an international safeguarding consultant and I’ve traveled the world.
Talk about child abuse or raising the profile of child protection. Should I say, um, knowing that in some countries it’s very taboo, um, knowing that there’s a lot of people who don’t talk about it, um, there’s, you know, it’s happening in everywhere. It doesn’t discriminate boys, girls, everything. And I think, yeah, that’s my passion.
My, my, my vocation is about ensuring that people who work with others, including adults as well, all aware of people who are vulnerable and need that support and come to my messages, there’s people have been, will be an art, you know, in that model. And I think that, you know, that’s the model of, you know, people see the iceberg of disclosures and I think the reality is.
We have to remind ourselves, especially in COVID lockdown, I’ve talked to a colleague from Australia last week and in some countries it’s rife where, you know, multiple kind of generations in homes, you know, children who, you know, might be seen on a daily basis or have an escapism from the reality of the abuse comps.
So yeah, cope it. Um, on top of all, the other things that are happening is definitely a time for me now where it’s frustrating, you know, my little heart, but I suppose on here to kind of today talk about what the whole black life matters agenda. So it’s interesting. Um, from March, I was involved with pre safeguarding the whole, um, COVID what we’re going to do with this thing that, and I’m supporting organizations.
I work with safeguarding in sports safeguarding in face space, guarding in art safeguarding, internationally and also community. So I’m quite familiar with all heads, my comment about knowing it doesn’t discriminate. Um, and. Yeah, I was helping organizations in, what will it look like now that we can’t see people concern or people who want to support you wants to support.
And then with the may kind of agenda kicking in, again, it went to almost overnight to the wellbeing of people on top of that. And in the UK, um, we spoke a lot about the BAME, black, ethnic minority, um, you know, groups and what it meant they’d be at high risk for COVID. And then it kind of went down to actually same black and Asian, um, two different things.
One’s a color on one, the race. Um, and then we started talking about the relative. So when it first happened in America, people in the UK, initially people would kind of say, well, does it affect us at all? You know, we were here and they’re there and we find him in the UK, we are multicultural and we do work with each other.
Well, and then I think reflection, Stephen writes lots of other things coming on. It people reflected and then the voice came actually, it’s very similar, actually it is here. And that’s where I’ve been supporting organizations around thinking about what does it mean to us, um, in the world we’re living in, in, especially in England, you know, especially in England for our colleagues.
So I work with lots of organizations, um, from very elite to, um, aristocrat kind of organizations, you know, very kind of empire colonialism, kind of British and proud. To local grassroots community groups, you know? Um, and what does it mean for all of us? So today, hopefully quickly, we’re going to be talking about what that is.
Um, based on our questions, um, before we were just talking, can I show you my little Tali? Just get them. Yeah, go for it. I want to see your dog.
Pooky Knightsmith: You have to describe your daughter as well for those,
Ann Marie Christian: right. It’s a Peaky about unpick and I’ve known her for many years. And I think that little conversation a few weeks ago, which is like, wow, we need to share this conversation because lots of people who are nervous or don’t know what to say.
Um, and one of my roles, I’m a trustee for the association of child protection professionals. Not on a lot of, um, Stuff there, but we did a webinar there. And I think I was talking to you about there with colleagues or multidisciplinary about what language can we use, how can we support each other, you know, being kind of allies, et cetera.
So obviously saying to pukey that, um, I’ve got two children, two daughters, a 12 year old and a 16 year old. And, um, when one, when the older one in 2006, I was to buy her a baby Annabella. So for the advertising, but it was a little baby that you can buy. Cause at that time I knew I wanted a second child. So I was trying to get familiar with a parameter baby.
So the mommy has a baby, you know, it will be something that she’s got one too. And all of them were peach skin. Um, couldn’t get one. Then at the time I was a manager of a team and I said to my colleagues, can anyone help me? And they did. And we went online and it took about two weeks to find a black baby Annabella.
And I have an example of where Holly can go to a shop to buy a doll that reflects their child or can go to a car shop to buy card where again, the family. So I always buy cars and call them in Brown. Yeah, because I know growing up, you know, I know I don’t get offended if someone gets me a card with it, you know, kind of peach, white person on it, but I know it’s much more personal.
So I know my husband, for example, it was a father’s day. So we got him a card, um, from a, uh, a person who now makes cards where before it was very difficult to find it, to get them online almost. Um, so yeah, so, um, I got the baby on there. Abella um, and it was fine and yeah, so all those little things, like I’ve just mentioned, even plasters, no new pastors, the years you have classes that they would kind of pick peach colored and stand out.
They’re not nude. Um, so little things like that. So anyway, I was explaining to Pookey that when I was 19, I went to America and I, I lost cabbage patch, dolls, and they’re cabbage patch dolls where, um, something where I can, uh, it was a crazy at school. Um, and again, they were all white, those. So then I went to America.
I bought my own cabbage though. She’s very dark and obviously not the same complexion as me. And that’s an example. Again, it was only one color. Um, um, and obviously again, there’s still a thing there about different colorings of black people, you know, in relation to all types of phony different shades of Brown.
And I like going to schools where they did Monica down there, how do I want to go?
Pooky Knightsmith: I’m a race to showing door for anyone listening to that, the audio podcast, that was an adult that was quite a different color than Emory. I don’t even know what are the right ways to describe these different foods.
Ann Marie Christian: It was like a thought you think about chocolate.
She was like a very dark chocolate. It doesn’t, she thinks about digestive biscuits. She was, and I’m kind of more of a maybe light of milk chocolate. Would you say your caramel, you know, it’s present on the different shades of Brown and that is one of the kind of challenges that I would have normally experienced in tight.
So new types for me, aren’t nude. You know, I normally would go for black then year light black then year. But again, there’s little things I think in this whole conversation around the reality of the world I’m living in, in the UK or since being born, should I say in the world generally, but again, how I’m alive?
My life, might’ve been different to my colleagues like yours. For example, if you keep it colleagues, you know, to the very well we’re natural friends, you know, we’re natural friends. Um, um, and now we’re having a conversation, but we’re natural friends. It was never about actually, um, you’re different to me.
We’ve never had that conversation. So it been a part of a conversation with two women. We met, uh, you know, we both do something with an organization where your mental health I’m safeguarding, we got on very well and we’ve been in touch since. So yeah. Yeah. So I think that’s why for my colleagues like yourself, we do have this conversation today.
Feel quite nervous sometimes like Emory, either email from a really powerful email from a colleague of mine. Who’s a coworker I’ve worked with about six years. And she was very apologetic, apologetic. Cause she’s very reflective birth year to therapeutic person to say she is something she never thought of.
And now she’s heard a lot about it. She appreciates that. My experiences in the things we did together jointly would have been different to hers. Yeah. And she was right. You know, and I’ve been able to have that conversation with her now
Pooky Knightsmith: and empathize with that because certainly we originally, um, would you to talk about a different topic, which we’ll do later in the summer.
But when we spoke earlier in the summit, this conversation of course came up and I. Never. And I don’t mean this in a, I don’t see color kind of way. Cause I know that that’s not the way that we’re meant to look at this now, but I don’t think of when I think of you. I don’t think of you in any way as anything either then as my friend, if that’s what kind of day is, or as a safeguarding expert, if that’s what kind of day is, I just don’t really think about whether you’re tall or
Ann Marie Christian: small or fat or thin or black and white doesn’t feel
Pooky Knightsmith: very relevant.
But when we spoke earlier in the summer and we did begin to think about race and what, like everyday racism might look like, um, I think I was quite surprised actually. Um, yeah, just how pervasive it is in your life. Um, and that we live nearby to each other. We have similar kinds of careers, but yeah, your experience of everyday is just really different than mine and yeah, I guess I’m, I’m feel like your colleague a bit ashamed perhaps that I never really noted that and I wanted to learn more.
Ann Marie Christian: That’s fine. That’s fine. And I think it’s little things like, for example, um, again, in understanding, um, is, um, makeup, you know, like even just going to shop to buy makeup, um, or. When we go, I traveled for a bit of a snob apologies only because I just always have that. I traveled costs a lot. I do. And that’s trains and airplanes.
And every time I go to business lounge, I can guarantee you that I do. It’s a horrible feeling, even though it should be look serious, but I do feel very, very excluded, um, in that environment. And it’s a weird thing to say. Um, so people who like you respect me for who I am professionally, even you, I am that.
And I, and I do lots of things in my professional role. It’s almost, I’m treated differently, different people. Um, I introduce myself and then it’s like, Oh, you’re Ann Marie, because my name is very ordinary. Isn’t it very British until you see me, I’ve been to gigs, Peaky where, um, person for, as the administrator, um, to the point where I was doing the gig, I was doing the kind of, and it was a very aristocratic kind of organization.
Um, and there’s a person there from a very well-established Alcon, but you’ve mentioned the name. Um, and he was okay when I was sorting out my desk and I, in preparation for the it on the day, as soon as I introduced myself, he kind of was confused. I thought you were the lady from the office. I didn’t realize you were doing it or your around Marie, um, is embarrassing, but I’ve experienced that quite a few times too.
Um, people almost shouting you, when you’re lining up for someone to go into a kind of, and then you go in and you sign, you get kind of bad with speaker and then a smile or your, and so it’s just interesting that once you’re established or you’re recognized at that person respectively, then all of a sudden it’s nice and you get smiles, but until then, you’re just seen as someone who’s not.
So, yeah, it’s kind of difficult at times. Um, I suppose in our conversation today about what can we do, what can I do to support colleagues listening right now who, um, need to kind of a better understanding of it and. I’ve been invited to a few panels per catch actually for the next few months to talk about it in different places.
And I was talking to a, uh, an international school about it, and they’re recognizing little things that they’re doing, like for example, um, the, um, the policy about hair. So my hair is curly today. My natural hair is curly. This is my natural hair. Um, upload, I, I know, but ordinarily before I would really wear it natural because a lot of the work I do is quite corporate, but you know, being corporate looking corporate is quite important.
Isn’t it? Um, and over the lockdown, I’ve been very, more confident now in where am I hair curly and actually enjoying it and loving curly hair and knowing that I can sometimes I want to still blow dry it, but that’s another thing that you expect it to look a certain way, you know? And if you don’t look a certain way, then you don’t kind of fit into the organization.
That makes sense. Yeah. Some people would be having it thinking, no, but. It’s that’s how it feels when, um, again, I, I’m very corporate in my style anyway, you know, you see me when I go to your number talking, I, I dress the part and, and, and, and I get that that’s etiquette, isn’t it. That’s kind of what you expected to do.
And I suppose, reliving in new England, which is very Eurocentric and, and that’s fine because that’s just the way we dress. But when it comes to lots of other things, you expect it to be a certain thing. Do you make sense? And when, um, so I taught my mother, um, growing up in a household, my mother spoke very strong, still does.
It’s very strong Jamaican Patois. So my, my ear, you know, my first language would be face up to language, Patois, Jamaican Patois. So I know when I’m more relaxed at home, I can talk loosely sometimes. Um, but when I go to work, I talk like this. So growing up, my, um, by default, I sometimes would go back to what my mother would say.
And again, she did speak the Queen’s English and obviously her grammar would have been slightly different. So even though, but mainly initial level, you know, I got there in the end, but the point was, I remember being at school and people not believing in me because I came from a different family. So I think we were called back then sob normal.
So normal of normal. Yes. So years ago they had EMAG ethic minority achievement grant. I don’t know if you remember that back in the day puking, it was a very kind of eighties thing, seventies, eighties thing, where children like me were seen as, um, subnormal basically, I’ve got books on it as well. Um, reading up on it and therefore, because we didn’t talk or act a certain way, we were seen as not normal and sub normal.
Pooky Knightsmith: know that? Did you, were you aware of that label?
Ann Marie Christian: I was aware of that when I was, um, in, in primary and secondary school, I was aware that the system, I remember feeling different when I was about four. Um, I remember flash barrel pencils, metal barrel barrel pencil school, and they had a flesh colored barrel pencil.
And I remember drawing, I’ve always liked art. And I remember drawing a picture of myself and was given the flesh colored pencil. And I was only about four or five, you know, I think the reception, I think then preschool, whatever. But I remember it now. And if I remember it now, Oh my gosh, it must’ve really affected me, you know, in that bigger picture kind of had.
And I also remember, um, there was no, when you, when you were given paper, you’re only given white paper to do portraits on. And then I think after a while, then when I got to like, um, primary top end, the primary, I might draw myself in Brown. And I did postgraduate. I remember doing a course on them, therapeutic, um, work with children and, and play therapy.
And I remember, um, the first thing I did in, in the kind of self portrait thing that you do, you know, in your kind of training was a big picture of myself, um, collared in Brown first thing. Uh, and I did a big red house and I did this hair and the laminate, but when, when you analyzing it, what came up was that was really important to me.
You know, my density is really important to me. Um, and my children, again, I was quite when they were younger. Um, luckily now I’m, I’m okay. Viva for them, collects books, libraries, again, like I did for baby on the Bella, I had to find, um, Books that reflected children like me. Cause my first black author was when I was 14 years old.
One also called Rosa guy from America. I remember again, but I think now I want my children to grow up in a place where they, you can see people look like them of the bizarre thing is, which is really interesting, but my daughter who’s now 16 when she was two, I bought her a book. Um, I just ordered notary book like an early years book, go to the park, playing on the swings, but there was a black girls in there, black children in there.
It’s a multicultural book, but black children too. And her coloring, you know, like mine. And I remember her saying, mommy, look that’s me. And it almost touched my heart and I got a bit tearful because that’s what I wanted. So they’ve grown in a world where they can feel important identity wise and touch wood.
As, you know, as two young adults and teenagers in a, in a, in a sense where they are now, they help you to feel about who they are. And that’s so important because when I was growing up, you know, um, it was predominantly not that, you know, I’ve always made to feel the ugly duckling. You understand, always made to feel that because the nature of billboards, he might’ve been billboards everywhere you go.
Even I did makeup of a few big department stores in London, all of the billboards, all of the pictures of these glamorous white women, that one looked like me.
Pooky Knightsmith: You worked in beauty. I mean, were you working in beauty on, was we, was that kind of multi-racial work
Ann Marie Christian: or were you, I worked for a black American.
It’s interesting. It was late eighties. And I worked for black American company who only did black makeup. So maybe naturally I went to that because, um, I felt beautiful in it, or you don’t make sense because they have, and then they had women who look like me, but they will America fine. I’m fine with that.
And I can remember big hair and it was lovely. Um, and yeah, I started to wear makeup. Um, and when I look at my old pictures, I was, you can see the difference in my confidence. And as a big one might look at that now, but at the time I didn’t know that I was still going for that journey. Um, and since then, I’ve always felt confident knowing that I could still have things that look like me.
Does that make sense? So now we’ve got lots of companies that do black makeup, which is again, even the main ones that mentioned the names. They do a, they did a few selections, but they were very like three shades. Imagine that loads of shades of black and white. Um, so now we can go to lots of different department stores and get makeup for all kinds of types.
But back then it wasn’t the case at all. So yeah. One of the things we take for granted that goes with it.
Pooky Knightsmith: Yeah, absolutely. And I think that’s that kind of the everyday racism kind of thing. Exactly. As you say, simple stuff like buying a plaster or a birthday card or yeah. Your make up not being able to make those choices, but you think that your girls are in a bit of a different world than the one that you grew up in with regards to that.
Do you think those
Ann Marie Christian: most definitely. Because they’ve also got back teachers. I didn’t have any black teachers growing up. No blacks. I mean, my, my fist is on my, you know, my, my, my, um, probably in the cities at home, I’m the youngest of eight. So I’ve got, we’ve had all the people, who’ve been, people look like me who are positive people, you know?
Um, so for that, I suppose that was my inspiration in, in a way that they were successful and they were confident, no, quite corporate in what they were doing. So I always had that, but my children definitely know. Yeah. They’ve um, in their world they can see people like them, you know, mommy and daddy are both role models.
They got decent jobs, you know, they go out there. They’re they’re fine, but in the lovely house, you know, so everything’s fine for them, but for me, and also we’ve got multicultural friends as well, so they’ve got friends of all types. Um, but also they’re competent who they are. Um, even ones, it was to buy makeup now, but she knows that there’s shades that she can go to automatically, rather than like me at the time, there was nothing there that matched my shade.
So I couldn’t, you know, I just couldn’t wear makeup in that way, which was fine. I did eyeliner, but I couldn’t wear pounds or anything. Cause there were two pale. Wow.
Pooky Knightsmith: And what are the things that you think that your girls need to be kind of aware of? Have you had anything that’s kind of come to mind or discussions that have come up as a family, as a result of this kind of recent kind of interest through the black lives matter?
Ann Marie Christian: Uh, yeah. So my, um, it’s interesting. My daughters, again, they’re both at secondary now, but when they were at primary, they, um, cause in my family it’s very into racial. So my father’s agent. Yeah. And, uh, my mother solid got German. Um, so we’ve got different shades in my family and my sister knows Irish. So they grew up in, and even my niece, my, my younger one both have got parents are white women once a very good friend of mine lady.
And one’s my sister-in-law. So for example, being therefore, they’ve never, you know, it’s never been an issue, meaning their family are all. So because of that, it’s always been something, any family gatherings, we see black and white people, you know, and et cetera. So it’s never been a discussion. And until now with the whole power imbalance and the discrimination, because until, you know, happy jolly family times, but when it comes to the real world, they’re now recognizing, wow.
So again, they recognize that sometimes people get treated differently because of, you know, or people are kind of, I would say demonized, but they can see how, just because you’ve got a certain color, does that mean the piece is going to stop you? Um, you know, et cetera. So I’ve got decent car. Um, touch with, I’ve never be stopped by the police in that, but I remember it’s funny last night I was thinking, I remember in my twenties, I used to get stopped by the police.
Um, when I graduated, I remember I liked cars. I’ve always been my, you know, maybe the, the Tom girl in me from having five brothers and I used to buy decent cars that were affordable again, you know, and I remember when I first had, um, a car Audi, I loved my, my present to myself and I met, began being stopped a few times in that car.
Um, and looking back now, I remember thinking, how did it feel at the time? And it wasn’t because I was a young, black female in a car that they would assumed I couldn’t afford to understand, but yeah. So I suppose, um, the world they’re living in, they wouldn’t have known that, but, um, yeah, we’ve had conversations and they know that sometimes when I was younger, it was different for me than how it would be for them.
Yeah. I mean, we told them that hopefully they’re going to be in a world where, um, there is no private and balance and, and they can achieve anything they want to. And luckily in my family, I we’ve had that. My mom’s always been that person who said, we will, should voiced around, you know, go for it. If you don’t shoot, you don’t score.
So that’s always been my motto and, you know, I’ve set up my husband’s same with my children. So they’ve got that kind of same value, um, rather than what’s the point, because you’re not going to do it because of discrimination. I’ve never had that attitude. Yeah. Yeah. Do you think your
Pooky Knightsmith: life experience has shaped what you kind of chose to do because you essentially are always championing the underdog and you’re trying to make life fair for people.
Is that a fair reflection?
Ann Marie Christian: Yeah, definitely. I definitely, it’s funny until you analyze things like that. And it’s only recently, I suppose, in that whole voice of not have been invisible is a massive work for me. You know, I was invisible for many years. Um, and at the time I didn’t realize that until now is not all I know.
That makes sense. So being invisible at school, I was invisible in my first work. I was invisible. I met the people assuming I was an interpreter and I used to go to meetings and I first qualified as a social worker. I remember colleagues assuming that I smoked marijuana, never touched in my life this year.
I was a single parent. I had no children at the time. I assume that, um, I went to a crappy crappy church. Don’t, you know, there’s so many assumptions. And then even when black service, who used to come in and I saw them as, as kind of relating to them as an experience of discrimination. And again, it’s something that’s just unspoken, by the way, you don’t talk about it with people.
You just understand their journey. They’re the ones that were labeled troublemakers. That police were called on before, but fine with me. Come in, sit down, hello, talk to et cetera. And then I started getting allocated all the black pieces. Fine. Okay. And then it was interesting and they were fine as in they weren’t those label people anymore.
There were people who were moving on engaging, um, to the point that come in the office and look for me, et cetera. But the point now was people assuming then I’ll never forget this. Actually. They assume that I was related to them. They would assume that I was their friends. No, they know them, but I just, I respected them.
And in social work, two principles non-discriminatory practice and anti-racist practice. I’d be non-judgemental. Hmm. So for one member, one lady left the little socks I call up if a, not, you know, for this example, she bless her. She came from, um, another country, African continent. I left forget, yes, Besser.
She was a Maverick character and she, you know, she was a person who potentially, um, if people did understand her, I was thinking she had mental health issues, but you clearly was a very expression, a very heightened woman. Um, and I’ll never forget one. They’ve got a phone call to say that her children were running around naked outside, and she was, um, killing a chicken on the front door.
So he imagined blue sirens. And you know what it was, she was, she was doing what she would be doing in Africa. So Caribbean, African people cleaned things, you know, often we did different in relation to how we, how we process things. So she was washing her chicken, plucking her chicken on the doorstep of the hot day.
And her children were running outside on the doorstep. She lives like in the cul-de-sac anyway, there was no. You know, I guess they were naked, meaning they had like pants on, but she wasn’t killing the chicken. She was just cleaning the, are you washing the chicken in lemon juice? I’m plucking out the hats.
You know, she actually bought the ticket. She didn’t kill the chicken. The chicken was really bought from the shop, but we still go back and burn the hairs, you know, upon the chicken. So that’s an example of, there was no drama and actually she wasn’t sectioned because she wasn’t crazy. Yeah. So that’s an example.
That’s an example of how then they saw me as colluding. And actually I just saw what I saw, you know, when she’d come in and she was really wound up, she was a lady frustrated because she wasn’t hurt. Yeah. So, you know, when you look at the kind of layers, if at all, so yeah, if I suppose in every role I had, there was an element marrow and in this particular Barbara, I remember people saying to me, don’t work there because they’re very quite racist.
Barbara. I remember him and it didn’t put me off because my mother’s motto again was. You don’t shoot, not at school. Yeah. Um, and I made it, I was the only black person in that team for about seven years. Wow. Um, and again, I’ll give another example. This is funny, this an example are going to experience.
You’re going to, like, you could keep it. I can tell you back then. A lot of the girls on the team was single three to myself and it was, I know, and it was a lovely place where there’s a lot of nightlife and bars down the road used to go there off the work. Um, anyway, there was a new person, a colleague who’s in another, um, If it had a teacher from a school who’d, um, one of our, on our patch who’d, um, just started and he was a dish.
How am I think he was a bit dishy. He was good guy. So all the girls, we used to come into the office for meetings, you about children at the school, they do themselves up blah, blah, blah. And they’d all push themselves up. And it was quite funny, you know, in that way. So, and I was like this kind of sort the expression, but, you know, black sheep, the person that wasn’t ever considered as anything.
And what was so interesting was they also do that, push themselves up and being the beautiful blonde they were and everything else, and being seen as beautiful in that way. And I was this person who was not seen or considered. So anyway, it was fine. Um, and we had these meetings, et cetera, and I’ve been in meetings with him, except because it was like a network meeting, et cetera, um, being myself and et cetera.
And I’ll never forget the day when, um, I went to meets new school. And I wasn’t chasing him. Like they worked their way, but he was dishy. Um, he said to me, something, he made a comment, um, made a comment that suggested he understood black, black women. It’s quite interesting for me because I suppose black women or black people, when we have a bath or shovel, we have to clean my skin because our skin gets quite dry or it looks great.
So on that day I remember wearing shoes and I think, um, I had a bit of dry skin on my, on my leg and he said, Ooh, we have to give, can get in today. I was like, Oh wow, I a bit embarrassed. But he said it the joke way, like ha ha. And I think he understands that women then I think until that, and I just thought, you know, it’s, again, a bit of my third type thing, you know, here we go, blah, blah, blah.
Thinking just another guy, another person that I’m working with, that my colleagues really adore. Um, and then he used to be mostly launched one day. And actually it’s really interesting that he then invited me for lunch. And then I was surprised because I fed into that whole thing of what they’re into as in, um, they want to be considered.
And then all the beauties that make sense. Yeah. And that’s an example of again, where it was, the loss was on me in the end and I did meet him for lunch, but example was, they would never have thought that not to this day. They’d never know that because we never told them. Wow.
Pooky Knightsmith: And that’s interesting. They said that was partly about how you were perceived by others, but that sounds like it was as much about your own perception of yourself.
Ann Marie Christian: And do you know why? Because in ordinary times when you go out there, um, and this is where the white privilege comes in, you see white people all the time and you expect white people. Again, I know there’s people who are friendly to me and I don’t mean this in a very, you’re horrible and you’re a friendly person, but I just mean when I go out ordinarily say like, forget social life, go to work or get on the train or go to a conference.
And I’m sitting in the audience, people who. People who kind of naturally, sometimes sit around me are cool. As in they make me feel comfortable. It’s small. They greet. Hi, how are you? Yeah, fine. And then there’s people who don’t completely exclude you. Okay. So you can always tell the sort of people, the equate white people who, who are used to, um, who’ve grown up with, or well-traveled to know that I’m just another person, rather than she’s a black person you’re in that sense.
So going back to that example, um, and I, and over the decades, I’ve learned more about that, but, um, I used to put people in a pigeonhole where I assumed that people, um, wouldn’t understand black people. Yeah. Because the way they made me feel told me he didn’t. So until you’ve come approach me like you, for example, we’ve got a naturally regardless.
So I knew that you you’re a person that you’re very multicultural and you, and to you, you’ve got people of all types because I was just another of a female that got involved with you. You know, there’s nothing about color there compared to some people who I could tell that I’m not used to being an extra kind of black people and don’t know, or nervous, or actually say offensive things in Spanish.
So again, over the years now, nigga, they stand up a mile, the ones who have multiple will comfortable and yeah, inclusive, fine. You understand? Um, and, and I, and even when you go on the outside, that’s what you notice straight away. Then the first three seconds you can pick up on someone who relates to you as a person, hence the word person.
Yeah. And it’s a lot. So our message today would be, you know, relating to that person as a, as a woman, as a mother, as a professional, as a colleague full stop. And then understanding her that my story being different because of the color I’m in that the world perceives me. It’s interesting. I did some training for a massive fostering agency, freaky lost.
I go there every year to do my annual bit, but there were all these, it was in Kent eat heart of white kids. Yeah, the real can, and, and, and again, I popped up Beto Marie. Oh, okay. And then, and then within half an hour they realize I’m a bit crazy and she’s funny. Ha ha. Rather than, Oh, um, I see people like you and the paper and um, Oh, I’m not sure about you.
I believe me. I could sense that to the point. Then at the end I twisted it round and we did a bit about unconscious bias. And then I started this, what you see in front of you. And one of them would say black woman, fine. Cause I was trying to make a point of, you’re going to have children who are black place with you and how will they feel in your organized, in your home?
You understand? And what was interesting. They all are all inclusive and don’t see race. However they weren’t aware. Well to this day or considered that their neighbors were see, we see the color more than them. I see. So when that child goes into town, they’re going to be seen differently compared to how they feel in that home.
Pooky Knightsmith: So as a foster carer, they had a responsibility to think not only about their own, uh, perception, but the perception of the people around them.
Ann Marie Christian: Yeah, definitely, definitely. And the experiences for that foster child going into town, you know, and how that would feel, because that’s something, again, you we’ve learned to internalize it and understand that sounds terrible saying it sounds terrible saying it.
And another thing until now I’ve been turn off so many things, because it’s always one of those things that you just have to do. I wouldn’t say deal with it’s just part of life. Yeah. But we’re not educated people around us to understand that we’re internalizing and what we’re internalizing. And I think that’s a massive thing about black lives matter at the moment is we’re able to have a voice.
Yeah. Do you
Pooky Knightsmith: feel though, like, I wonder a little bit with the situation at the moment, like, do you feel a pressure to be the face of, cause there’s not loads and loads of people in your kind of position who are black, who can speak up for, do you know what I mean? Do you feel a responsibility
Ann Marie Christian: for people
Pooky Knightsmith: of color or,
Ann Marie Christian: yeah, exactly.
So, um, I feel I’m quite, uh, without the word privilege, to me means I’ve got an, I’ve got a platform. That’s the only privilege I have of having this platform. So when I do public, I mean, it’s interesting last night, again, my reflection moments I’ve been in keynote speaking for 19 years, it was 2001 and in all those, and then I thought about it for a while in all of those conferences I’ve done or keynotes, et cetera, I’ve only seen, um, about a handful.
I think about 2019 years, a handful of black sneakers, really? So 99% at the time. And all of those 19 years, I would have been the only black, black keynote speaker in England. This is obviously because international is slightly different, but even then I’m again, normally going back speaker, but going back to that message, then at the moment, I’ve been brave enough in some of those opportunities I have, because the platform I’m in to make comments about it comfortably that people can have a conversation because some people have got this kind of thing where, because I know if I got upset and, and reacted to some of the things I experienced, I’ll be seen as an aggressor black woman with an attitude.
And one thing I’ve been talking about recently on the, on my, the forums have been, um, this year I was going to Bristol quite remember why one of my gigs, I suppose I was at Paddington station on the Concourse. Um, and the lady dropped the beautiful purse meaner on the floor. I love scoffs, um, you know, click them all the time.
Cause I love scarfs. So, and I knew it was expensive. So I picked it up to give it to her. And then she turned around and she almost screamed and jumped like, say, who might have been like in Hansel thing? The point I’m making is, um, my handbag was worth more than I’m not breaking, but you know what? Oh, wow.
Kidneys really, you know, you know, my wallet is worth, you know, it makes sense. So the point I’m making is people to just see this. And they’re like lady shouting rather than actually I’ve given her her loss score, but no one else has done. That was the point. And I was dressed appropriate as in even does that matter.
But other stress, like I was going to work, had my briefcase with mixed Fetra suitcase, et cetera. But that’s an example again of, I can talk about that. Um, uh, people who know me will think I’ve got a good heart, then I I’ve just be kind of caring rather than trying to take the lady stuff
Pooky Knightsmith: you’re using your platform to try and actually open up some of these pretty thorny conversations at the moment, but you are one person.
And as you say, you, you’re not experiencing much diversity in those kinds of lineups. So actually that makes me think, well then what’s the role of like me and other people with white skin to try and promote this agenda as well. I mean, is it right for me to do that? What, what’s my role here?
Ann Marie Christian: That was interesting.
So, um, two things, um, the first one was language, so it might about language in a minute. Okay. The second thing you’re saying here is about, um, understanding the experiences of, okay. So yes, I’m, um, I, I, my identity is, it varies. Depends what mood I’m in. I might be called like the cool black woman or woman of color or black British.
It really depends what mood I’m in on the day. Okay. Um, and again, with language, it depends on, so thinking about how you pronounce the name. Okay. Um, it’s quite personal, isn’t it? You know, like I know you grew up in, not in London, you’ve got this part of the country. And again, maybe you identify as like that sometimes, but not, you know, it all varies, isn’t it?
Depending on, on that day, how you feel. Yeah. So there, I saw you made a correct yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. That’s fine. Um, so I know for me, again, we depends on how I fill up the day or things going on for me. Um, and I think going back to what you just mentioned there about people like yourself and, and Dylan looks at a really good tip that I showed her another gig where she’s been interviewed by lots of Schoeller.
Um, and Dr. Scholer has done a lot in the press of moment about this. And she was saying about analytics for saying, what can I do like that? You’ll say to help you, I want to be part of it. But my welcome and, and doctor showed us, says, of course you are, you know, You, you know, you are an ally in it as well, meaning you can help us and give us that kind of platform of, um, helping us to challenge the racists, the helping us.
So you’re, you are one of us because you’re including, and you’re using the privilege to, you know, help challenge people. Who’ve got the same privilege as you. Yeah. So it’s a really powerful clip at the moment. A picture of Moda Monroe have seen it with Ella. So if she sat in the
Pooky Knightsmith: front of her
Ann Marie Christian: gigs there and you know what, this sounds really weird, but I felt that few times.
So I’ve got a few colleagues, one that we both met through and I met her about about six years ago. And again, she’s given me that she’d my married Marilyn Monroe. He’s exposed me to lots of organizations that I wouldn’t have had in that shadow. I would have been in. Yeah. Yeah, you don’t make sense. So again, until I recommend it to somebody and again, Monday plain, then I, they see me.
Oh, okay. I’ve worked for quite a big, a few big independent organizations that they kind of aristocrat a lot as well. And I’m ordinary name and introduce me via email. But when they see me, it’s like, well, okay, didn’t realize that. But again, I get used to it, but the point being, I suppose, um, I suppose in, in helping people understand it, that, you know, that picture, I was just talking this morning before you kind of started recording Pooky about the young black, white girl looking in the shop window with black bowls, there’s hundreds of black dolls and this white girls would come in.
And that’s the reality, I suppose, the reality is how does that go feel? And I had one of my daughter’s friends, mum said to me the other day, I just drop her off on a play date of the day. And she goes down and I saw something, tell you that, that then I thought, Oh my God, now I know how you feel. And it was a picture of a group of black women out.
And there was one white lady there and she said, wow, you know what? Until I saw that. No. I mean, I think what this is all about, you understand? So for some people there’s gonna be, she triggers, that’s going to make them realize, you know, a bit like if you’ve been to Africa, Caribbean, or, um, Asia, where you get off the plane and you’re the only white person in this land.
Yeah. That, that’s what it’s like for us in, in that way. And like what you said, I’m not the voice for all. I mean, you go by my own experiences. I know some black people, you hate the word colored because I might get that because color color it is. But I don’t like either women of color is different than colored with colored.
We know is kind of linked to flavor, trade, et cetera. Um, and even still, we will never have power. So the whole thing about racism and discrimination is the power that comes with people of, of, of an organization or off of the Institute of the empire, you know? So white people see it as being superior, you know?
Um, and, and I get that across the world in other places as well with the kind of countries they’ve been to. But yeah, there was a sense, always ways that we’re not as good as white people. You know, or, um, if you say anything it’s because you got a chip on your shoulder, so you can never get it right.
Rather than different because I’m quite diplomatic person. So when I experience things like that, I don’t get angry. I feel so for those people, you know, it’s a bit embarrassing. I remember years ago, um, like 30 years ago, being out with my brother and my brother used to love Michael Jackson. Um, they should move more a wedding, I think, and this little white boy comes along and do moon walk with him.
He said, Oh, I can’t talk to you because you’ve got Brown skin and he ran off. So there’s a lot of little things that you hear along the way. Um, you know, even I know nurseries for years ago, and this is like my safeguarding role, two incidents of white shorts and saying, you’ve got Brown skin. Me can’t play with you.
So with breakfast, people don’t appreciate this black lives matter thing actually got worse before, before COVID so black life, you know, the co the Brexit triggered. Tension in the UK. And I thought of it in my work. I definitely thought of it in my work with kind of the wellbeing of people and the increase of extremist groups growing and the tension and even peak, you know, we live near each other.
I went to my local supermarket and because I’m now more clued up, clued up with training I’ve been on around extremism, even in my updates during COVID. Um, I noticed a sticker on them, the car park, fine. I ran up to it, took a picture cause it was quite small and it was actually a bright white extremist sticker in my local supermarket.
So I thinking, and it was a car park as well as on the ground Karpov like whoop a little bit scared now. And that is my local food for markets. I go to read three. Interesting.
Pooky Knightsmith: See, I always think that one of the things that I think is better for my children than for me, you know, I grew up in defin where I think I’ve, I’ve told you before I looked up the offset report of the junior school that I went to and there was 500 children, one black kid, and she actually wasn’t there for long.
She was, um, I think she must’ve been in foster care. And I remember that she was given all sorts of nicknames because of the color of her skin, but she was like the first black child that any of us ever interacted with. And I, I, my assumption is that maybe she was removed and, you know, went somewhere where she perhaps had a bit more of a mix.
Um, but yeah, so I grew up in a very, very white place, but my children. Uh, growing up in Korea and they have a whole range of different kinds of color of friends, um, all sorts of different sorts of friends, of all type. And, and I think that that is one of the nice things that does come for them, of living in court.
And, you know, one of their very best friends is, um, is, is mixed race. And they have interesting conversations around now. They’re getting a little bit older. My girls are 10 and they talk about hair and stuff. And I remember when that friend came to stay and I have no idea how to manage her hair. She can’t.
Yeah, yeah, yeah. It was, yeah, it was really, really hard. Yeah. Um, but we had great fun learning together and we were able to do that in, uh, yeah, I don’t know. It felt like a really natural and a nice way. And my girls were able to be inquisitive about it and we were able to explore and talk to her, uh, mum, uh, about, well, how, how do you manage this kind of hair and the products and that kind of thing.
But I think, yeah, I think that’s nice for my kids that they’re in this much. Yeah. Much more diverse environment, but it sounds like, yeah, maybe that. It doesn’t feel so diverse for you. And that there’s still that on the current of
Ann Marie Christian: racism, because even like going back to mixed race, um, there’s I remember a book I read years ago for letterbox and it was like, my mother’s an alien.
It was actually about a mixed race child whose mom was white. And compared to, for this little Brown girl, her mom was white. So you could be in, in, so looking at it, you know, I could have been the girl, you could have been my mom, you know, so my identity and my role model would have been a white person and, and that’s happening.
I’ve heard quite a lot of that at the moment. Again, the invisible race being mixed other, and you know, people who, uh, again, um, I know muddle with friends the same in that she’s half Asian. So in the winter, in the summer, she gets a decent Brown. Um, and she, again, perifosine a different experience they have with her in the summer.
Then they would have gone in the winter. So we’re learning so much at the moment around, um, what it means to those individuals and how people perceive things. Um, and I suppose. Again, test, I think. And this is again, my, my very personal thing is if, if you, one of the first things to check as an individual is outside of work.
Have you got any friends who don’t look like you? Ooh, good question. Okay. Do you make sense? I know I have, and I know we’re crazy, you know, and that’s fine. Um, and I’ve always had that and I, and I can see my nephews are the same and, and my, my children are similar. That makes sense. Um, but I could argue my oldest siblings don’t have that as much as I’ve got it.
Um, you know, and as far as distance in me and my older sibling, but in all my life, I’ve my, my, my, you know, my, my best friends at school have been white, um, college for why uni, why. You know, so I, I get on with all and actually better. Sometimes I feel better. Meaning naturally personality is nothing about color.
Um, and I’ve got a mixture of all types of friends from black, Asian, white, you know, sexuality as well. So I’ve always been that very person about the person. Maybe it’s like you said, my vocation about seeing the person within everything else. Um, and I think that’s one of the first test, I think again, is that for yourself, if you’re listening and thinking, what does that mean for me?
Have I got any friends who don’t like me, you know, who, you know, outside of work and if not, why not? And if you have, but it doesn’t mean you’re a bad person. It just means why has that not happened? So checking on your unconscious bias about sometimes because sometimes I remember years ago in the nineties, I was dating a guy in America and I see early nineties, I was going, um, uh, my uncle, I was, um, used to go stay with him in New York.
And he used to say to me, um, and again, being the person who was at the time, very multicultural with my friendships and in New York used to say, Oh, and you know, But we’ve been active, but you said we have white people on the job, but I don’t make, we don’t make South off the work. And you’re very clear about that.
I thought I’ll put that word. I thought it was a bit weird, um, that when I look the thing, there was a research thing a few years ago, the Metro, um, who key about London being the melting pot, but actually it’s a false, it’s a false hope. It’s such a word because actually we don’t mix off the work. We’re not genuine friends.
We know people, we don’t mix off the work. You understand? Um, you might have, and don’t get me wrong. You don’t have to cough copies or drinks for people just have friendships with people, but people like you, there are people I’ve got friendships with who I can know that. Yes, I have got that reflection.
There’s just little things like that of does that mean you, you generally don’t give people opportunities to kind of, um, be your friends. Or have you got your unconscious bias that you put them in pigeon holes? It’s interesting how
Pooky Knightsmith: you categorize people that I see. Cause I was thinking yeah, about it as we’ve been talking and I mainly my friends tend to be men, but of all the females that I’m friends with color and ethnicity has got nothing to do with it, but they’re all universally really strong women.
So actually my friendship group of women isn’t especially diverse. Yes, it is in terms of ethnicity and color, but in terms of type, you know? Yeah. Like I have yeah. Remarkable women in my life, but only remarkable women, if that makes sense. But yeah. And I think maybe there’s room for a bit more diversity in, in other ways as well, but it’s really interesting.
What do you think should be the other things like, you know, as a parent, it’s making me wonder what are the things that I need to be doing for my children to make sure that I’m getting this right as a mum,
Ann Marie Christian: I think it goes back to again, a positive was the hall. So for example books, um, but also film, what do you like hidden figures, you know, things where they’re going to see black people in a positive experience rather than slaves or maids, or, you know, I mean, I’ve worked with roots, you know, roots.
Wasn’t great for me. Yes. It was a reality of what happened to my ancestors, et cetera, but. In school, it sort of almost ignore. So I’m glad now we’re at a point that my children know about black history. So they know that actually about Mary Seacole. They know, you know, all the things about the things about the Jamaica or the Caribbean.
Um, they know about the, when rush, you know, they know all of the people who fought in the war. So when we see D-Day EDA, you know, all that stuff, we also see our own people who are part of it that are not represented in the, in, in the day to day. Don’t make sense. So they already can see slight discrimination because they’re not included in.
Um, so I think it’s things where you make a point of, um, ensuring that you, you know, your children again, different types of other children, you know, and if I’ve had emails from colleagues from the Cotswolds, for example, say, no, I want to, you know, make my children would include inclusive, but are living somewhere where we can’t.
What can I do? And again, it’s about introducing in your home, the films, the resources, the books, the conversations I’ve had, people who trading faith. Um, I’m scared of black people. Why? Because when I grew up, we didn’t mix for black people. Well, okay. Well, are you scared of me then? And they pause, meaning I seem okay.
But they might be scared of me cause I might switch on them because we’re in their family or their lifestyle. They read papers where people who look like me are seen as criminals or immigrants. Do you understand? So this whole thing about immigrants, like, you know, I think my daughter said to me, so why is it in English?
People go blow their feet as ex-pats, but we’re seeing the other people come over immigrants language in the languages that not, I couldn’t answer to be honest, but there’s little things that sometimes just feels a bit more negative
Pooky Knightsmith: immigrant, a word with negative connotations.
Ann Marie Christian: Anyway, like I think it’s a major again, isn’t it pinky for me, the media making it immigrants coming over, not accepted foreigners, you know, this whole Florida thing.
And I still get that sometimes even on British passport. You know the thing about where you really from British, British passport? No. Where you really read from I’m black, British, and some. So I sit on there deliberately thinking I’m going to make it hard for you cause I know what you’re trying to say, but yeah, it doesn’t really matter.
And if so, why, you know this whole thing about that, the tray of eggs be different shades, you know, yolk in them. So I think for anyone today, it’s just them making been reflective on the next person. They see a person of color, again, we’re all individual people. Okay. And therefore, in order to engage with that person, they need to feel connected.
And I’ve had a comment at the start of that last matters that really kind of, I could kind of relate to. And it was, it feels like being in the same space, but there’s no connection. Oh,
That’s what it feels like in how you racism feels. And the connection is again where, um, you have no power. So no matter what you say, you’re not being heard, you’re invisible in there. So it’s like being invisible in a room where there’s other people. That’s what it feels like in everything we do. Um, yeah.
That’s how it feels. That’s how it feels. And not, not all the time, but when we do experiments, that’s the feeling we get.
Pooky Knightsmith: And do you ever feel any kind of, uh, guilt, I guess about the fact that you do have the privilege of often having the stage and holding people’s attention perhaps in a way that not everyone does?
Ann Marie Christian: Um, sometimes it’s, yeah, it feels like a bit of pressure because I have people look at me representing the race and I don’t, I only represent Amarie and my experiences and, and, and everyone’s got, so some people get annoyed. Some people, some black people are annoyed with me to think. Um, you know, I tell the real story, it makes sense.
Um, and, um, the personalities of all our own individuals. So I’m giving you my account and my account is still worth something compared to the other persons. But the story is everyone’s got their own story. So it’s hearing different stories. And the pressure I would have is again, um, some people think I’m too polite about it.
As I said, my experience has been different because yes, I’ve, I’ve experienced racism a hundred percent. However, my values have been different because my mother’s installed in me. You were more, does that make sense? So I didn’t have a stilted to me you’re black. Therefore you’re not going to be successful.
I’ve never had those all in the off. I just thought to me the world’s your oyster go for it. And I’ve used that in my journeys, through my life. Hence I had these opportunities, but it has been challenging. It has been very challenging being the only black person, a lot of the time in lots of things. And I still do that now, you know, being a speaker for things, the only black person.
When I’ve all my other colleagues, um, aren’t um, or being the chair of a co I bumped on my chair panels as in conflict, I might be the chair and again, not having the same status, even though I’m the chair, people kind of don’t respect my decision, sometimes positive
Pooky Knightsmith: discrimination, where people are, perhaps, you know, where, because we are trying to perhaps be a bit more, I don’t know, forward thinking in terms of race and ethnicity, we’re making up panels and things.
Do you ever feel that you’re there and people are inviting? You know, I sometimes feel this, I will get invited because of, um, I’m autistic or the iPhone, and I don’t want to be there for that reason. I want to be there because I’m an expert in my field.
Ann Marie Christian: I, I would say it’s interesting because of my profession and my professional role.
No. That makes sense. So I know it’s always been safeguarding. Yeah. So if I get sudden increase than now, I say, yeah, but you know, another thing I’ll share with you when I, I went from William to school-based social worker, um, and, um, went to managing a massive role in local authority. You know, when my salary jumped up, like the I 10, 10 grand increase and then the sort of roles when you kind of go from it, or if it’s a senior role and in that role, I forget.
Um, so I’m yet to go to an interview where there was a black person on the panel, by the way, I think honestly, maybe one and, and I’m thinking, but you know, meaning one out of many. So, um, I’ve got this job, I’ve got this job. It’s just weird. I’ve got this job. And other lots of other people went to the job and I got the job and I have the younger one and the only black one.
So in starting this job the first day on, I forget the director of the local authority took me to lunch. It felt really weird. So I went to lunch and I was a nobody meaning I didn’t need to the bar other went to lunch. It’s beautiful. Part of, you know, where it was, um, having all kind of lunch that you do, et cetera, did not say you imagined, you know, airs and graces, et cetera.
Yeah. So did this role and, uh, after a while, you know, it felt like to me, you know, like it’s, it’s, it’s not even funny, but it’s thinking about it. It’s quite quite amazing. You remember trading place of Eddie Murphy? I really felt like it was trading places. I really felt that I got the job and I was managing a lady who could have bought the job who was more of that white middle class kind of, kind of thing.
We didn’t get the job. And she, therefore, I was her manager, so, you know, trading places, but I, and I had the power and the job and she didn’t. And for a while I felt like I was this person who had privileges like Eddie Murphy, didn’t trading places. Yeah. Yeah. Um, and make decisions. We went to all these board meetings and look the part.
Um, and I, I looking back, I think, again, I know I got the topic cause I had more experience compared to my colleague. Yeah. However, it felt like Eddie Murphy time, it felt like I was kind of like treading places that make sense. So sometimes even if you think about white privileged trading places, again, as a math, it’s a good film to start isn’t it.
And how he felt, yes, don’t get me wrong. He was loaned to the police, et cetera. And for shoplifting as a different event, isn’t I get it. But when he did get that whole experience of these people, again, it was only over a dollar, but his lifestyle is exposed to, and then he became friends with the person.
But that’s an example of how color and race and status impact how you have to see downside.
Pooky Knightsmith: Yeah. You have to work on restart a bit harder
Ann Marie Christian: for the same you do. And I think going back to your original question that you just had about, um, sometimes I do feel a bit tick boxy sometimes. But because safeguard, they only get invited to safeguarding things.
Yeah. That makes sense. So therefore I fit the role and you are just the
Pooky Knightsmith: best person for it. I mean, that’s it, you are always the person I pick the phone up when I’m yeah. When I’m struggling. And, and also, I think it’s not just that you have that expertise on so many levels, but that you always tell it straight.
And I think I have huge respect for that. I know that if I’ve got something wrong, you’ll just tell me which not everyone does. And I get you, you probably get that too. That when you work relatively high in your fields, that you don’t get much constructive criticism. Always. Yeah, yeah,
Ann Marie Christian: yeah. Yeah. Thank you.
Thank you for that. I respect that as well. Yeah. Yeah. Thank you. Um, but yeah, and I do find that as well, a comment you just made as well. Um, but I think the, um, yeah, I’ve been invited. It’s interesting. So away from my safeguarding role, I’ve been invited to a few panels going forward about, um, I’m part of the Bay med network.
If none of you don’t know it, it’s, uh, you know of it, it’s the panel. It’s a, basically a place where a lot of people can now know they can go to get black professionals. Who are worth their field. Um, and they happened to be black corroborate and people not knowing. Um, and I’ve been invited to speak a few about, about black minds, about the whole experiences of, and what can organizations learn from it.
So that would be a tick box, but, um, in a way where actually we’re having a conversation like we are today. So rather than only, sorry, sorry. Another quick thing. I read an article at the start of this. I think I told you in our first conversation, um, written by a person who obviously about racism and safeguarding.
Okay. And I thought, wow, a good article. Read it. And I, it was, it touched the size, but it wasn’t a real in-depth kind of conversation is by a very good organization, got a lot respectful. And I know them very well and I rang them and said, wow, you know, I’m in your emails. You’ve emailed me because of this article.
But I felt that you really missed the point here. And you’ve got a massive audience point being, I spoke to the person who wrote it. The person who wrote it is female white lady, white privilege. Um, she wrote it and I spoke to her about it. I said, that’s great. However, um, she’s married to a person who is not British.
Therefore her name reflects, um, a non British person, but she’s bright, British. And she told us, she spoke about the experience she had when someone assumed that she was off that country being a Europe, um, until she opens her mouth and then the, the sigh of relief that they had when she, they realized she was English.
Okay. So even in that conversation, it’s fine, but she didn’t get the point. The point I was making was, um, I was thinking can a, um, a man might about sexism, a woman can, a, a, a tall person might about being short and a skinny person might about obesity. So when it comes to this, I don’t know the answer to be honest Peaky, but I’ll just put it out there as far as people.
And don’t get even like a white woman, who’s got a mixed race child, can cheek experience the same life that her child will. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. And, and so, and I’ve, I’ve experienced both, I’ve experienced women who do really do when they’re on it and they’re challenging it. Like my, my, um, my daughter’s godmother is one of those people, you know, she grew up, uh, you know, from her childhood in places within the community.
So she kind of grown up where people predominated against and her child is also part of that. So she kind of really gets it and will challenge all the way. And a son’s got broken insight into that and very successful too, compared to some way, it’s been a bit of a tick, tick box where they live there, but they’re not emotionally involved because they’re in love.
They love each other. And love is lovely, but love doesn’t kind of highlight the experiences that people that you love are experiencing. Yeah. Wow. So, yeah, so, so I think having a courageous conversation and, and making sure, but we’re listening and understanding, because if you start with that, then you can turn the next page together with an understanding of that person.
Yeah. And language is important as well. So making sure that each role working with people of difference, again, like you would for a nonbinary person, really, you know, all those sexuality things where w w how’s life, you know, w how can I, what should I refer to you as, you know, in a way that, how would you prefer me to pronounce your name?
Or how would you prefer me to identify you as you know, in, in your ethnicity? So I think all those little things that just like he would ordinarily, but faking it, because then that person’s given the kind of, um, responsibility to say, it’s about you.
Pooky Knightsmith: So be curious, I guess isn’t it be courageous and be curious and don’t be afraid to ask questions feels quite important.
Ann Marie Christian: Yeah. And, and I think inclusion is massive ones. So if you go to the basics of another, that’s another female, that’s another male. That’s another mother, you know, rather than black person. Yeah. So I think it’s just trying to remove it, but then going back to remembering that this city is a factor that is going to shape the experience of the person’s life.
So you have to, you have to remember the discrimination that person’s also paced because that’s not going to help. So what I’m saying here is it’s summarizing point. I think the message I’m going to give out is yes, they’re person. However, their life experience, it could be different to yours. So what lens have you got on today?
So their lens in them when they go out is something different than you’re going to see. So when I go to place with my white colleagues, like you and I went to for a drink somewhere, we might, I might feel different in that place that we’re wearing the t-shirt for example, being. People don’t, there’s not a lot of people who look like me there, which isn’t a bad thing, but then does that mean people are gonna see me for, uh, a friend of yours having a cup of tea with all the women over there who kind of stands out because she doesn’t make sense?
You know, it makes sense. So some, I call them like areas that are quite beige multicultural, I think to loads of places in England. And some of them are not beige. And sometimes I really feel a bit uncomfortable and nervous. Um, I say that more with Brexit prior to kind of, COVID nice to go out. I felt really uncomfortable.
In fact, I thought was gonna be attacked where you’d never thought of that. Maybe somebody is making you feel uncomfortable in intimidating way. Of course you would. But you know, intersectionality is important as well. Isn’t it? Yeah. All those layers thought.
Pooky Knightsmith: Would you like to leave people with maybe some sort of practical ideas about things that we can all be doing kind of every day to try and tackle
Ann Marie Christian: this.
I think it’s checking yourself unconscious bias as a first starting point. Like I mentioned. So how would you feel if your nephew or niece or nephew your child is on board support home, a black person, a partner, and naturally how you’d feel that is your foot. That is your real answer. Isn’t it? Because it’s emotional and it’s personal.
So why don’t you experience that? The next thing that you got to be thinking of is, okay, well, have I got any, um, personal friends or in my life from childhood to now have I, you know, had genuine experiences with somebody of a different color? You know, that I, that was positive rather than fighting Al green the door.
Okay. So all those little things will make, that’s your check, isn’t it? Your internal checks. I think I’m amazed that, you know, your answer don’t, you then you’ll know where and why you’re doing what you’re doing and then what you need to be doing to make the effort of trying to. You know, recognizing I’ve been carrying this all my life, are you my values, moral compass.
Um, and now I’m understanding what it means, you know, because I’ve got the white paper, I’ve never thought about it until now. And the more we get better at that and become the kind of, you know, the whole allies thing, um, being an ally in it, then we can actually be that person to make an effort, to sit near to that person, to make them feel like actually fine.
Cause I could tell you now I’ve been that person to, to for a long while people don’t sit next to me at conferences because I’m an ordinary person till they’ve introduced my name. You understand? Um, yeah. It’s just those little things of making a difference. Making people like me feel included, not, you know, make us feel visible, not invisible.
I’m smiling, this nice little things, you know, it just makes a difference. And I seen people making differences. Black lives matter. That is in giving you eye contact and smiling morning. You’d be surprised. That’s just like respect for me. Robin expecting me to jump and walk out. You know, even when you go down the street, people speak to walk out of their way.
Why is that all settable cut your weight. If I don’t, then I’m in the wrong. Do you understand this last little thing, but you kind of, I think that white people take for granted again, that we’re expected to do three things. Otherwise we’re the aggressor when actually you’re both equal here, but both people and we should respect each other. .