New Year honours no balm for hard-hit people

By Thomas L Blair 31 December 2014 copyright update 01 January 2015

Have things gotten better this year? I started the year writing about the marked and continued  decline of Black awards and applicants for the New Year’s Honours Lists and have ended the year writing almost the same.

Poor performance in the List has sadly been a theme for this year. Nevertheless, there have been some interesting achievers.

Jamal Edwards, the young entrepreneur behind the web music video company SB.TV received an MBE. Brendan Batson, 61, the ex-West Bromwich Albion defender and one the first Black British footballers received an OBE for services to equality in football. He reportedly welcomed the progress made so far, but called for more Black representation in coaching, management and the front office.

However, awards cannot rescue a hard-hit people from the historic misdemeanors of the state and crown. 

Ben Zephania/BBC News
Ben Zephania/BBC News

Benjamin Zephania put it this way, according to the BBC News Thursday, 27 November, 2003, 17:48 GMT “Black poet spurns OBE… because he claims it stands for colonial brutality and slavery”.

From this perspective, it is vital that Black communities have a frank and open conversation about their collective development and how individual achievers and strivers should  contribute to it.


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