When the news presenter Lukwesa Burak first started working at the BBC, she was told that her afro-textured hair was “too ethnic”.
Ten years later, a photograph of the black British broadcaster wearing sweeping braids as she presented the news went viral on Twitter.
“Yes, I had braids while reading the news and yes, even on a national bulletin. Times have changed!” she tweeted last week.
The image of the 48-year-old presenter prompted an outpouring of support, particularly from parents and teachers who wanted to instil confidence in black children.
Huzzah and all that. But what does anyone damn well expect?
The norms of culture move with, well, the norms. Large scale immigration into the UK is still a pretty new thing, so, those norms are only catching up with that immigration. In 1945 the black population of the UK was some 10,000 people, max, concentrated in the old port cities. Now it’s some 3% of the population, about 1.5% Afro Caribbean, 1.5% African. That second group almost all having arrived in the last couple of decades.
No, leave aside whether you think the whole game is a good idea or not and just think for a goddam moment. Culture is indeed malleable but not instantly so. It takes time for change to happen – and?