Thoughts on Black History Month

I find it difficult to celebrate black history/herstory month when black men and black women are still illegally imprisoned inside the mental health institutions of British society.

Cannabis now prescribed legally, but will they release the huge numbers of black men misdiagnosed with ‘Cannabis psychosis’ during the 1980’s .I am in despair after forty years of a mental health survivor, awarded the status ‘schizophrenic’ that we continue to reflect, research, peer analyse, black academics investigate whilst we examine white guilt .

I am still vulnerable to system that has not changed.

I have in my ‘recovery’ demonstrated resilience, dispelled the myth as a person who can think, challenge and workacross borders of race to release all individuals that suffer a modern form of ‘depratomania’.

Let me explain this term ‘depratomaina’ as a mental disorder defined by Cartwright (1862) for slaves who decided to run away from a slave masters.  I wander who is my slaver masters are now and who I am running away from.

My journey as a mental health equality activist has been painful, a public health warning to your sanity as you see the delusions to how racism operates in which whiteness is in the room but has been invisible when talking about equality. 

I have seen this reluctance to make whiteness visible and to recognise it positive contribution to race equality work in my experiences as a mental health patient. 

I now think It’s too easy to see whiteness as white privilege, male power and often unreachable on its moon that Gil Heron refers to in this poem, where it cannot be reached whilst I am can be reached inside its mental health ward.
It is on this ward of the hospital your identity is stolen, your spirit eroded, and your motivation for civil rights and basic humanity repressed. Suffering from the label schizophrenia, is like the label BAME, it is a false representation of you lived reality and the need to be treated as an individual.

You develop a sixth spiritual sense of how exclusion and discrimination operate inside mental health system as a singular identity, ‘black mental health survivor’.

Whilst on the ward of a mental setting, whiteness sits in a room, it comes out to assess you, to section you to lock you in a padded cell. 

Whiteness have been projected as invisible, as negative, a culture that defines how we should be, without declaring what is it.

It only reveals itself when exposed by white activist, who look through their lenses to see racism not in their life, but the experiences of me, who they fail to challenge in their personal life and work.

There have been moments over the last thirty years which my silence to speak out has affected my self-identity as a black man, wanting to be white.

In 2015 when inducted to the FA Hall of Fame, and in 2017 awarded the MBE for an empire that does not exist, my mental health was confused.

Was I selling out or selling in, had I assimilated and lost my identity. 

Over this period, I have built important relationships of mentoring, support and advise from several white people inside who came off the moon, out their room and took the risk of a joint salute of humanity celebrated during the Olympic games of 1968.

There is an opportunity during this period of Black History/Herstory month, to recognise the white individuals who have stood on that stand with me, who have embraced the human rights salute and engaged the sentiment and the changes in race equality that may lead to in a change to the culture of their mental health enslavement.

Allison Faulkner, who examines the pain of whiteness, Professor Bill Fulford who over fourteen years attempts to analyse the blockages to his personal whiteness, who focuses on equality as a lived journey to redress injustices of the access of BAME communities to appropriate services.

Steve Gillard who connects the experiences of gender and class as a leader of change of race equality, should all be celebrated as individuals who stand together with their BAME sisters and brothers to release their black brothers and sister illegally detained in mental health wards across the country.

NSUN has stood in empowerment with a generation of diverse groups and individuals as a modern civil rights campaigning organisation. 

It has stood with me when I was admitted twice to a mental health settings. It has become  the mental health practitioners of authentic equality, they challenge their whiteness, they have transported themselves to a new integrated moon and room with I am allowed in.

As a complement to their work, I have recently set up the ‘Whiteness and Race Equality’ network in mental health, with my spiritual mentor, Michael Bennett, Director Welfare at the PFA.

We share a purpose, like the empowerment salute sixty year ago, developing an important legacy of coproduction, of working collaboratively, of standing on the same stand, working in the same room and reaching a new moon of equality in sport and mental health work.

It is this vision that stops me from wanting to leave this world, to give in and allow my status as a ‘schizophrenia’ hindering my ability to change the worlds of individual inside and enslaved at this moment when many suffer in silence from mental health issues inside sport.

I hope I have enabled them to talk, open and enabled all racial groups to share our despair and hope for positive change in lives in and out of sport. Welcome from the moon whiteness, good to see you and work with you.    

Colin King. Schizophrenic.