Work Twice As Hard - For Half as Much

As a black person, the phrase "you have to work twice as hard" is an often repeated mantra, usually expounded by well meaning family members or friends. For those who are unfamiliar, this article will break down the realities of being a black person in a society filled with micro-aggressions and structural racism.

For our generation, one cannot automatically blame the laws for any prejudice we face as black people, as there have been specific legislations enforced in order to combat racism, such as the Race Relations Act 1965 which 'outlawed discrimination on the grounds of colour, race, or ethnic or national origins in public spaces.' It is clear that the government's involvement in targeting racism has made some positive impact, as it made white people reluctant to dismiss people of colour due to their own ignorant views - or at least predominantly white businesses, due to the United Kingdom employment equality law.

However, whilst these laws do exist, racism is an inherent ignorance found in white-led organisations, which plays a role in corporate decisions. As previously mentioned, it is illegal to choose not to employ, or discriminate in another form, on the basis of race. This doesn't stop U.K. elite universities, such as Oxford offering university places to 95 black students compared to 2,090 of their white counterparts this year. Similarly, the 50 black students offered a place at Cambridge may feel 'off' at the high number of white students offered places - 2,130. (https://inews.co.uk/essentials/news/education/just-95-black-students-offered-places-oxbridge/)

As the title suggests, black people are taught from their guardians or from various experiences, that in order to receive just *half* of what our white (and sometimes non-black) counterparts have, we have to work twice as hard. In any industry or education system, there is an immediate and innate perception of black people as inadequate of a job role or reward, due to racist stereotypes and other ignorant prejudices. An example of this is Beyoncé's 'Album of the Year' snub at the 2017 Grammy Awards for her critically acclaimed 'Lemonade'.

Despite the various themes surrounding the conflicts of a black woman and the use of different musical genres (country and rock included) in her work, the visual album was awarded the 'Urban Contemporary Album of the Year' - a questionable category which places many black artists in one box - but that's an article for another day!! Adele, the AOTY winner for '25', rightfully, questioned Beyoncé's snub, but it was clear to me that this was another case of a tokenary gesture in allowing a black artist to win album of the year award - for the 'urban' category.

As disheartening as it seems, I advise black people to remind ourselves of the predicament we will always be in due to the colour of our skin. For me, this truth isn't really a de-motivator, as such, because it pushes me to get my grind on if I want to be happy with my achievements. However, for many, this inevitability that we will be seen as inferior due to the colour of our skin has a negative effect on the mental health of our race, because this form of racism cannot be changed overnight, regardless of how many laws are made in the future.