Hello friends, today I want to introduce James Pogson. I met James on LinkedIn, where he has the knack of dropping the perfect response to any post relating to anti-racism. He manages to be on point and humorous at the same time, and I thought he’d be a great addition to this series. Please, meet James.
James, what made you become an anti-racism activist?
Until you said I was an anti-racism activist, I really didn’t see myself as one. I’m a Black man who’s experienced racism all his life. In one shape or another. And I’m also a storyteller who writes and speaks for a living.
I’m an expert (in training) on me. My views, thoughts, opinions, and experiences. I write and speak about is what trespasses against me. Racism is exactly that.
I speak my truth, my lived experience, and my personal viewpoint. That’s my anti-racism activism.
Some people call you "LinkedIn's Poet Laureate" - why is poetry so important in getting your message across?
It’s a flattering mantle. I consider myself a poetically-prose writer.
Having spent 16 years as a freelance copywriter; that’s all about getting the message across. Cutting the fat and getting straight to the point. The poetic-prose does just that. It makes you think, it makes you feel, and from time to time it makes you laugh. I’ve also been a creative writer for over 30 years.
I leave the intellectual debate to others. There’s room for everyone. I neither have the time or the patience to imitate anyone.
What response have you had?
Very favourable. I’ve had many views of my posts. I have many people following me. It’s led to great comments, radio interviews, podcast interviews. A LinkedIn Live interview. Opportunities to speak on platforms, meet new people and gain new clients.
In relation to racism, what is your vision for the future?
For Black people’s humanity to be universally recognised, accepted, and validated. That white supremacy be recognised as the socio-economic, historical virus it is, so that all people can eradicate it. I’d like the Black Lives Matter message to go down in history as THAT turning point where equality became the mission and the goal. Then the reality.
What are your top three anti-racism posts/poems you have written?
It’s a short, funny post, yet brutally honest. There’s a truth to our reality that only dark humour and sharp wit can sum up, without us getting angry and upset.
For those who claim to be “colour blind”.
My shoutout to White people who have told me they don’t see colour, or that I have a chip on my shoulder. Yes, many (not all) White people like to have a tan. But none of them would ever wish to be treated as if they were a Black person. The African American comedian Chris Rock used to joke that no White person wants to be him, and he’s rich!
A chance to flex my comedic-satirical chops.
I know not everyone celebrates or acknowledges Black History Month, but I wanted to highlight that it’s the ONE month of the year (October in the UK, February in the States) where the focus isn’t on White history (aka just history).
White has become the default. Anything deviating from that is wrong. Rebellious. We were taught about Christopher Columbus and William Wilberforce. Black and History went together like cold cabbage and hot custard.
The three posts I’ve chosen here reflect how society erases the Black experience. It’s as if we’re whitewashed out of humanity and must justify our ‘part of the human race’ application. People forget WE were the first humans to inhabit the earth.
Share one anti-racism article you've read written by someone else that resonated with you.
It reminded me of a past personal work-related hair experience (back when I was an employee, with a full head of hair). Black people would never dream of running their hands through a White person’s hair, because they felt like it. Double that in the workplace.
As I’ve been saying to many, Black people are STILL fighting for their humanity. We’re still facing resistance.
As a Black British narrative Storyteller, I have a responsibility to tell my stories and help other Black people get comfortable with their own narratives. Personally, I’m not here to educate White people. We’ve focused on them and their issues long enough.
Wakanda, mind, body, and spirit.
As you’ve seen, James has a unique style which is worth reading to get another view of Black experiences. To learn more, please follow James on LinkedIn.
Thanks for reading,
© Sharon Hurley Hall, 2021. All Rights Reserved.