Search

‘It’s everyone versus racism’ — Teenager pens poignant account of ongoing battle for equality

PUBLISHED: 17:00 10 June 2020 | UPDATED: 19:25 10 June 2020

17-year-old Joshua Rodwell has written eloquently on the issue of discrimination, following demonstrations across the world to protest the death of George Floyd. Picture: Spotlight

17-year-old Joshua Rodwell has written eloquently on the issue of discrimination, following demonstrations across the world to protest the death of George Floyd. Picture: Spotlight

Archant

The death of George Floyd has resonated with people all over the world, many of whom have voiced a desire for real change.

Joshua Rodwell has written on the issue of racism from a teenager's perspective, paying reference to the injustices which have prompted a resurgence in Black Lives Matter protests, including a recent demonstration in Barking. Picture: Cash BoyleJoshua Rodwell has written on the issue of racism from a teenager's perspective, paying reference to the injustices which have prompted a resurgence in Black Lives Matter protests, including a recent demonstration in Barking. Picture: Cash Boyle

Though protests have become the most common form of expression, others — such as 17-year-old Joshua Rodwell — have used spoken word to convey how they feel.

Joshua only took around 15 minutes to write his poignant account, which explores racism through the lens of someone from the younger generation.

His overarching question is this: “How can you preach that your fellow man is somehow worth less than the white boy I am?.”

The Dagenham teenager told the Post: “I have always been an advocate of equality. I have seen my neighbours be attacked because of the colour of their skin. It has to change. I hope to be one of the pioneers of this change.”

This addresses another theme explored by Joshua; he believes his generation have a vital role to play, but fears that some view young people as “inferior”.

He reiterates these sentiments when interviewed, urging those in power to take teenagers more seriously: “We are so much more exposed these days, especially with social media. The pressure is on us to drive fundamental change.”

In the video, Joshua proceeds to emphatically condemn all forms of discrimination, calling hatred “archaic”: “I am so tired of getting fired up to the sound of another disgrace from the human race.”

The 17-year-old’s open, accepting attitude is no accident.

Joshua was raised with a broad spectrum of influences; his father, Councillor Darren Rodwell, is the leader of a Labour council, while his mother is a Conservative.

The teenager was always encouraged to make up his own mind, and thanks his parents for giving him that freedom.

He understands the need for demonstrations, though does not condone any form of violent protest: “The changes we are trying to make are vital — I don’t really agree with all the means of doing it, but we need change.”

Joshua ended his interview by summing up the fight: “It’s everyone versus racism, not black versus white.”

His spoken word draws similar battle lines: “Racism needs to dissipate. We’re not too late. This doesn’t have to be our children’s fate.”


If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Barking and Dagenham Post. Click the link in the orange box below for details.

Become a supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years, through good times and bad, serving as your advocate and trusted source of local information. Our industry is facing testing times, which is why I’m asking for your support. Every single contribution will help us continue to produce award-winning local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Thank you.

Most Read

Most Read

Latest from the Barking and Dagenham Post