Most of us literally have time on our hands, as a consequence of the government’s stay at home directive in fighting the Coronavirus. So if you have not yet watched any of BBC’s ‘Noughts And Crosses’ TV series, I urge you to spend some of your “extra” time watching this superb series on the BBC iPlayer.
Many years ago I had a weird futuristic dream in which Britain was a milky-white landscape, accompanied by Gary Numan’s synthy soundscapes, and in which several of the senior politicians were African and Asian, including the Chancellor of the Exchequer.
We have of course in recent times witnessed the reality of an Asian politician succeed another Asian in the role of Chancellor, whilst another an Asian, beleaguered as she may, hold the position of Home Secretary in the current government, which has a smattering of Africans.
Having watched the TV dramatisation of Malorie Blackman’s ‘Noughts + Crosses’ books, I’m fascinated by the reverse or alternative race scenarios, which I think a BBC reviewer let go a Freudian slip, when he described it as “backwards scenarios”.
Perhaps Blackman was inspired by a similar dream to what I had. But praise worthy as her books are, I think it is getting broadcasters to commission programmes on mainstream TV that offer us a perception ahead of the possible reality that fascinates me the most – for instance, there was a female, African Metropolitan Police DI (Detective Inspector) character in ‘The Bill’ and an African US president in ’24 Hours’, long before it manifested in reality.
Whilst a lot of Africans were either excited or empowered by the Wakanda moments elicited by ‘Black Panther’ film, I posit that it’s ‘Noughts + Crosses’ that ought to resonate more, particularly with African British people.
And in a month when anti-racism was marked, whether within the first 21 days or on March 21st, I think this new TV series playing on our screens behoves us, particularly schools and community groups, to use it to engender discussions around racism.
Oh, and when you’ve finished watching the series, use some of your “extra” time to read a book or two on African British history, as we seem to know far more about what happened in the US or the Caribbean, than what happened in Britain. For example, we all know about Rosa Parks, but how many of us know of Paul Stephenson?
Kwaku is a history consultant, co-ordinator of TAOBQ (The African Or Black Question) African identity campaign and The African Coalition (Aug. 15 2020 is The African Coalition Day). You can read a related resource at: http://bit.ly/AntiRacismAfricanIdentityTerminologies.