Guinea Pig G

Posted By on August 25, 2014

In the late 1980s when I made the decision to research the black British life experience I was undergoing an existential crisis of meaning and could see little worth in my ‘black’ life.

I had, however, by this time given birth to two sons and developed the generative desire to, in some way, find meaning in my failed black life by creating a more life-enhancing legacy for them and the society in general. This focus is seen in my endeavours to date …

In due course I came across the biography of Buckminster-Fuller (Guinea Pig B) a man who made the decision to use his life as a social experiment to ascertain what he was able to achieve in improving conditions for humanity.

I felt affirmed to realise I was following in the footsteps of ‘Bucky’. I was also using my life as a social experiment in creating a new human legacy to replace that of race.

It was from ‘Bucky’ that I took the (paraphrased) advice:

‘when something is not working, don’t fight it. Create a new model instead.’

The externally imposed cultural disorder of black British culture was not working for me especially as I found myself being forcefully resocialised into a ‘white’ view of who I am meant to be as a unconsciously socialised ‘black’ member of the society.

I made the decision to resocialise myself into the ethnic identity, culture and consciousness of a British African Caribbean.

I was planning to leave the racial culture developed in slavery and silently and invisibly transmitted across the generations through British cultural socialisation behind. Would this be possible?

My personal and social experiment had began in the context of a higher education institution which was, from the 1980s, acknowledged as the first to open its doors to the black community.

Thirty years later I am sharing my story of this social experiment and what I have and continue to learn from it …

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