#117 Why Black Lives Matter with Darryl Edwards

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CAUTION ADVISED: this podcast contains themes of an adult nature.

Darryl Edwards – aka The Fitness Explorer – was one of the very first guests to appear on this podcast, all the way back on episode 7. He is someone who is passionate about promoting movement that is fun and playful. But that’s not why I invited Darryl back to talk to me on this episode.

If there’s a thread that runs through all my podcasts, it’s that empathy and compassion are essential to feeling better and living more – and that’s more important now than ever. This episode was recorded 10 days after George Floyd lost his life in Minneapolis, US, and the #BlackLivesMatter movement rose up in response.

I talk to Darryl about his experiences growing up in the UK with black skin. He was born in the UK but his grandparents came here from Jamaica in the early 1950’s. Whilst Darryl is a leading light in the wellness industry, he’s also one of the few black faces. And perhaps, until now, we haven’t thought enough about why.

Darryl has an in-depth knowledge of black history and in today’s conversation, he takes us back to the very origins of the transatlantic slave trade, the ‘social construct of race’, and dehumanisation of African people in the late 14th century. He describes how, far from being a US-only problem, transatlantic slavery was introduced by Europeans throughout the world and capitalised upon by the British. He explains how racism didn’t end with the abolition of the slave trade but continued through systemic laws of suppression, oppression, colonisation and segregation. I’m really grateful to Darryl for distilling what he knows into a form that we can all understand and act on.

He shares shocking examples of racism he’s experienced, from playground bullying through overt workplace discrimination to the fact that, as a black man, the police have pulled him over while driving at least 100 times, including at gunpoint. Whether this is an experience you share or one you can only contemplate with horror, the question we are all asking now is how should we respond. Darryl and I discuss how all of us, not just the black community, have a responsibility to internalise racism and think ‘that could have been me’. Empathy and compassion surely have to be part of the solution.

Can something positive come from the tragic death of George Floyd? Perhaps, if those of us now listening, engaging and learning go out into the world and demand change. ‘Our window of discussion has extended,’ says Darryl. ‘Please listen to us.’ This conversation is a very good place to start.

Show notes available at https://drchatterjee.com/117

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