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Freelance Writer | Podcaster | Journo | Portfolio (www.oliverluketaylor.com)

Was incarceration and mass detention in colonial Kenya about punishment and safety or labour and profit?

Why was the incarceration rate higher in Kenya than any other British colony in Central and Eastern Africa? Why did the British establish a system of detention camps and patrolled villages? From the get-go of colonial rule in 1985, jails were some of the first buildings the Brits constructed in Kenya. After only 16 years the Brits had erected 30 penitentiaries. Following 40 years of British control, they were locking up 145 out of every 100,000 Kenyans.

Florence Bernault, a Professor of African History…


Karl’s win in the 2019 General Election gave the Tories back control of all Lincolnshire’s seven constituencies, which they also had control over between 2010 and 2015 (Lincoln was a bellwether seat for years until 2015). The Tories also upped their majority in Lincolnshire with their vote up by 47,127 votes on 2017, a 23.5% rise.


We thought the days of ‘No Blacks, No Irish, No Dogs’ pubs were a thing of the past, think again! A search for Cosy Club AKA Cosy “Colonial” Club online, a thriving, growing bar and restaurant venue, reads: “The Cosy Club provides you with a sense of being somewhere special with a hint of nostalgia.”

What White people want in a pub, Black people have historically unable to access.

A staff member’s former Black colleague also asked when he visited, “Is this legit? It’s reminiscent of the days when we could not get served in a place JUST like this.”


Part II Psychological Storms: The African American Identity Struggle
by Oliver Taylor

Dr Thomas Parham offers some stimulating strategies from his book Psychological Storms: The African American Identity Struggle to prepare for the psychological storms that lie ahead for African Americans and Afropeans in the West. Parham quotes Wade Nobles (1986), a notable pioneer of the African American psychology movement, who wrote: ‘in the African way, ideas are the substance of behaviour.’ …


It is truly a tragedy that people lost their lives during the most recent terror attack on London Bridge. My condolences to their families and praise to those who heroically took Usman Khan down. I could not have done what these brave members of the public and the police do the best to follow protocol in a tough situation.

However, I wonder if protocol always has to end in death, ultimately the suicide vests worn by Khan and other attackers were fake.

Khalid Masood, the Westminster attacker, was shot and killed by police even though he wasn’t wearing a suicide…


Dying young is like eating an unripened fruit, dying at the right time is like eating a ripe fruit and if we follow the analogy dying too late is like eating a piece of fruit that’s gone off.

So when’s the best age to go? Have days when you don’t want to be here anymore? I do, and during those days I’m tempted to eat my fruit now. Is it as ripe as it could be? Well if I think my life can only get worse given how bitter it feels sometimes.

If I remember my fruit will only go…


When I reflect on school, neighbourhood or work experiences focusing on race with another person of colour we’ll almost always share and highlight the classic statistical experience of usually being one of only a handful of other minorities out of the whole school or workplace. I spoke with a black bi-racial woman whom I met on Reddit after I posted the question ‘feel like imploding’ in the r/mixedrace subreddit. She said he ‘hs literally had 30 black people.’ Initially, I thought wow that’s a lot because I was one of four black people in my whole high school of 600 students, but of 30 you’re still a minority, still as Zora Neale Hurston wrote, ‘I feel most colored when I am thrown against a sharp white background.’

These experiences are for the most part negative until eventually, we can have a sense of humour about it because the more it happens, the more ridiculous it becomes. Despite laughing though, it still leaves me feeling isolated, alone, angry, stressed, exhausted and marginalised.

As people of colour, with the rise in popularity of books about race, class and belonging it seems we’re increasingly trying to reflect on our experiences in Britain and on what it means to be (to use Afua Hirsch’s book title) ‘Brit(ish)’. I think this mass creative reflection in the form of fiction and non-fiction is allowing us to just ‘be’, it’s giving us space to vent, and it’s enabling us to develop a stronger group identity/voice.

I say reflection is helpful because William Cross a psychologist (who developed a theory for racial identity development called Nigrescence) discovered through his work on ethnic identity that, ‘racial identity has more to do with how people reflect on their experience rather than the experience per se.’ (1)

I don’t live by personality tests nor do I think my Myers Brigg personality type is my defining self and new middle name at social groups, i.e. Oliver INFJ Taylor. However, Extroversion one of the big five personality types makes sense to me. Susan Cain’s book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking was particularly insightful. Her book has been out for a few years now, but if you haven’t read it, it highlights how western culture is not designed for introverts while it heavily favours extroverts, which leads to, as Susan writes in her book, ‘a colossal waste of talent, energy and happiness.’

I mention introversion because I think it can be a helpful lens through which to understand minority ethnic alienation in white spaces. Extroverted society overlooks and undervalues introverts, and white society also overlooks and undervalues people of colour so if you’re an introverted person of colour you’re even more likely to experience being overlooked and undervalued.

This probably isn’t surprising if minority stress theory (I mention this in a previous post about working in white spaces) is a phenomenon too. I think what we describe as isolating, marginalising and alienating as an ethnic minority also interlinks with our personalities the more introverted we are.

If you’re an introvert, like me, you prefer quiet, less stimulating environments while you tend to avoid large social stimulating situations can drain the life out of us. Similarly being the only person of colour in whites spaces is often an exhausting experience, right?

Going to an overwhelmingly white social event (every event I go to) as a black introvert can lead to lower functioning due to both the disproportionate whiteness and high activity which can then cause us to withdraw quicker.

Being an introvert in social spaces is a drain, being an introverted person of colour (IPOC) in predominantly white social spaces is a double drain. To say the least. How to cope?

For me, it was seeking advice from some other supportive people of colour about. I heard that burning burn some bridges (and the toll booth and the road lol), i.e. cutting people off was commonplace and the most liberating feeling ever.

It is early days, however finding a supportive group online (Biracial Conversations and Support Group) and later disengaging from white social groups and events predominantly I used to attend has liberated me. That’s the important part, whether you do it all at once or gradually, is to find connections with other PoC.

Do you feel the need to burn some (not all) bridges with white friends and public white spaces? Perhaps, where you’ve felt exoticised or criminalised, i.e. alienated?

Putting your psychological wellbeing first makes a huge difference.

(1) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rrozyvu26Ko


His prominence as a gay, black man hasn’t gone unnoticed.

A visit to the National Portrait Gallery to see Simon Frederick’s ‘Black is the New Black’ collection makes that clear. Of the 38 black figures men and women, across the generations, there are two gay black men. Only two.

To be black and gay is a racial group. To say something about gays and to say something about black gays is different. To discriminate against gays is one level of prejudice to discriminate against black gays is a different dual level of discrimination. The latter is racial and sexual prejudice.


Many are saying unconscious bias is the most critical issue in addressing inequality and disparities in society, but what’s it cause? I don’t think its a lack of education I think it’s intelligent self-interest.

A pastor I like, called Miles Mcpherson, the founder of The Rock Church recently dropped a book entitled, ‘The Third Option: Hope for a Racially Divided Nation’. …


I’ve discovered over and over again that PoC in any discussion-turned-toxic-debate about race with white people usually tend to get bullied by a barrage of the same old, well-versed yet recycled counterpoints. Let’s call them classic white thoughts on race and this post is about examples of them and responses to them. In the spirit of Rene’s book entitled ‘Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race’ think of them as reasons why to no longer talk to white people about race.

Brilliant creative Terrence Nance, creator of Random Acts of Flyness, which is a blend of ‘Adult…

Oliver Luke Taylor

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