Being one of the few African children at my school; my name was different and so were my hairstyles. I used to get called, Busy Biscuit, Bee Cee, Busy Wissy and Busy Wakinola.
My hair was twisted with very strong, hair cotton and supposedly resembled Medusa. Not knowing who Medusa was at junior school, I got very upset and wanted to have hair like my friends. Luckily, I didn’t get into any fights, but looking back that was my first encounter with racism/bullying. Fortunately, for me, I was able to bounce back and as my cultural education at home got stronger, I was able to educate my school friends.
When they didn’t say my name properly, I told them I wouldn’t say theirs properly either. When they got upset, I then tried to explain how I felt. With some people this worked, with others…
Other times, when I was called names, I ignored the person until they said my name properly, then answered them, they soon got the message.
I also wore thick NHS glasses from the age of five and “four eyes” was said to me many times. Me saying “four eyes is better than two", soon shut people up!
Looking back, I liked being different, especially with my hairstyles. Even, during my teens, my hairstyles changed every six weeks. I wanted to blend in, but also stand out.
"It is time for parents to teach young people early on that diversity there is beauty and there is strength."