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5th Oct, 2022

Knowledge is the key

Another Black History Month is here and for some time now I have been questioning the relevance and appropriateness of this annual celebration.

As a black man, I don’t believe my history can ever be confined to a single month. It fuels my lived reality created through centuries of struggle.

However, I have recently been re-energised by the power of education and the joy of learning around black history.  

Black history can often be portrayed in an incredibly negative light, making black people feel like victims and white people the accused.

This approach to learning risks deepening the conflicts between people already torn between an artificial allegiance to their own kind versus the acknowledgement of the experiences of people from different cultural backgrounds.

Learning is about creating dialogue rather than division through listening to different perspectives. Far too often nowadays, we forget the importance of dialogue and go straight to debate, assuming one perspective must be right and the other wrong.

Dialogue involves listening and learning about the key moments in time and the occasions that shape our present-day reality. Then discussing them in an open and honest way.

Dialogue is most successful when learning has gone before and that’s why Black History Month is important.

It gives us an opportunity to share the learning that will underpin honest and open dialogue, to ultimately drive the empathy and understanding that can lead to greater inclusion.

Here at Kick It Out, we have recently launched our digital learning platform, The Academy, offering people across football access to educational content on an array of topics surrounding Equality, Diversity and Inclusion.

From players and clubs to parents and fans, the platform provides everyone in the game access to informative courses and resources, helping to create awareness of how we can work towards a more inclusive game for all.

I’d encourage people from across the football community to use these resources to learn, to ask questions and to enter dialogue based upon listening and respect.

Yes, it may sometimes feel uncomfortable, and that’s fine. Discomfort is common as you start the journey around black history because so much of it is linked to the worst human behaviours.

However, please remember the purpose is not to take on guilt or to gain a moral high ground. The purpose is to listen, acknowledge, discuss and learn so we can create a more welcoming future for the generations who come after us.

Until such a time as our educational curriculum is fully decolonialised, Black History Month will and must exist as a source of truth.

The one month every year where scholars, activists and educators have a platform to share truth and to dispel myths to an audience ready to learn.

The Academy can be accessed via our website, or by using the direct link: