Glyn Butcher describes his experiences of growing up in a mixed race family in Denaby Main in the 1970s.
Please note this is a highly personal account where the writer has experienced racism. This piece features strong and discriminatory language from the start. Some readers may find this upsetting to read.
‘Nigger Lover, Black Bastard, Coon, Golllyiwog, get back on your jam jar’. These are some of the warm welcomes I experienced as a child. Walking down the road with my mother, someone would move to the other side of the street calling her a slut, and spitting on the floor. Often we would wake up with graffiti written on the windows and doors, ‘trigger trigger trigger, shoot that nigger’.
Why was it wrong for me to be born? Why was it wrong for me to be born black? What have I done wrong to feel like my life is undervalued by the color of my skin, or the color of my father or my mother’s skin and the black blood running through our veins.
Why must I be cleansed or cleaned or sanctified? Why must I be beaten until all the negro blood leaves my body? Am I equal? Are all men not made equal? Are all men not made in his image?
What must I do to prove my worth because my worth means nothing to you. I’m not good enough to eat at your table or lace up your boots. I’m that downtrodden, my life means nothing.
Two little boys stood behind their mum one holding on to each leg at the market, stallholders snigggering and pointing. ‘That’s her, you know her, that one, you know, you know … the black men, those children, poor little things, it’s not their fault, poor little buggers, there’s hope for them’.
Everyone on the stall getting served first leaving me last, ignoring her advances to buy fruit and pay, hoping you would move on to the next stall.
Going in a cafe to sit down for a drink; ‘sorry love, all these spaces are taken’, in an empty place.
I learnt from an early age that the world was a nasty, scary place, that my life was over before I was born because I was mixed race.
My dad used to turn up for a job and because of the color of his skin and his afro hair he never got the job.
My girlfriend was pregnant and her father made her have an abortion just in case ‘it was black’.
The reality is that Asian and Black lives don’t matter. Only thing that matters is white.
The government is racist; they promote racism, the policies and procedures they put in place set people apart from each other.
To the single mum, homeless, on benefits.
We just see oppression adding on more oppression.
Glyn Butcher is a grassroots community activist born in the Conisbrough and Denaby area, now living in Rotherham. He is an active member of PFG (People Focused Group) where he provides peer support on a daily basis for people in the community across Doncaster. PFG is a group led organisation that provides honest, easy to access support for people in the community going through difficult situations.
Glyn would like to give a special thanks to Michéle Beck for supporting him while writing this piece during the PFG Creative Writing group that she facilitates.
For more information about PFG and the work they do, please contact them on: