Tuesday, April 07, 2009

OBAMA VISIT TO LONDON

Ordinary people are extra-ordinary. Ordinary people matter. Ordinary people is where life and its problems and challenges, are real. When Michelle Obama visited a girls school in inner city London, she remembered her 'ordinariness' and showed great courage and humility by not playing to the tune of the media or any 'middlemen' about how she spent her time here. In the process, she ignited good values about education - hard work, perseverance, even that it is 'cool to be smart'. She went on to Harvard, in spite of being raised in an ordinary Chicago family.

There are many similar stories of ethnic minority successes in Britain - perhaps not as powerful, but significant nevertheless. For most of them, success has been won through hard work, perseverance, and sheer guts and determination. Examples include the founder of New Look, poet Benjamin Zephaniah, the writer Andrea Levy, artist Shanti Panchal, actress Meera Syal, and we can go on.

As a country, Britain still fails strongly to embrace this talent for its own progress and betterment. This is because the media is still strucuturally biased, and very powerful. But we do not need the media. We should recognise and support our own success stories, and use our networks and contacts to help them go far and wide. As ethnic minorities, we need not be jealous of others in our communities, nor ashamed to help them. In their achievements and successes lies our own. This is the only way we will open channels for our young to climb the ladder of opportunity and empowerment that they so deserve.

1 comment:

Lola said...

Hi Atul - I totally agree with you. Ordinary people do extraordinary things. This is important I feel when we look at the concept of role models, which the government and media harps on about all the time especially when it comes to black youth.

The idea seems to be that if we put someone "extraordinary" on a pedestal that will encourage young black people (especially young men) to want to do better, but the problem with that is that it suggests that these boys are not in themselves already extraordinary and that they need to look to these 'extraordinary' people in order to get out of their ordinariness.

Maybe a better solution is to encourage these so-called ordinary young people to believe that they are and can be extraordinary... and to also use role models from the community. We underestimate how even seemingly ordinary things like a regular family raising happy children is a positive and inspiring thing.

I like the Obamas because they are humble and down to earth and show that they are just like us. Which of course they are!

www.lolacreative.com