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I, too, am George Floyd—Black Lives Matter comes to Britain

There is a long history of African-American struggles inspiring black Britons but this moment feels new

Black Live Matters protest at Downing Street © Erica Dezonne/EMPICS Entertainment

Black Lives Matter protesters in Britain have shown themselves to be a rainbow coalition. It is, though, surprising to me how many of them have been black. Despite a tradition of white activists casting black people as radical agents of change, historically speaking black Britons, at least the Windrush generation and their children, have been notably cautious about joining such protests.

Black Caribbeans who came to Britain were the inheritors of a strategy of resistance to authority dating back to slavery, characterised as “playing fool to catch wise”—cunningly disabusing those with more power of the notion that you constituted a threat to them. That stance evolved over centuries into…

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