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George Floyd death image copyrightTom Pilston Worldwide protests against police violence and racial injustice have led some black people to have conversations about racism with white friends for the first time. Patrick George, 26, a London chef is one of them. It was late afternoon and Patrick was talkinf about to walk out the door of his east London home when the call came. It was Jim.
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It can start with a simple text check-in.
It was Jim. He wanted to talk about the march. I don't exactly understand what's happening. On TV and on social media, it looked as though the world had crashed out of the isolation of global coronavirus lockdown and was now suddenly out on the street.
Experts provide practical tips for navigating the tricky social interactions that may arise during the coronavirus pandemic
George Floyd's killing, for thousands of black people and others who rejected racism, was bigger than lockdown, and a desire to grieve together outweighed advice on social distancing. The feeling wasn't universal though, and some in the UK couldn't understand why anger over American policing was reaching the streets here. Patrick and Jim had known each other for years from playing football together, they were good friends.
They had never talling racism. Patrick was six when his family moved to the UK from Jamaica.
They settled in Hackney, east London, where Patrick's mother got a job as a hairdresser. He and his brother and sister ed a local school.
It was challenging. The family spoke Jamaican Patois, a language with several variations, many of which sound similar to English.
To an untrained ear it can sound like broken English. While he understood everything that was being said to him, Patrick's white teachers failed to decipher his accent. In order to make himself clearer, Patrick raised his voice, speaking deliberately slow and loud.
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He was immediately called out for being sarcastic and aggressive. He was frequently stopped and searched by the police while walking around his estate, or to and from school. It was something that he accepted. But there was no problem with kids of his own age.
When some of the boys learned that Patrick didn't know the rules of football, they taught him. They also spent time running and sprinting with him, the same athletics he had enjoyed in Jamaica. They grew up round the corner from each other, in neighbouring schools. The boys dipped in out of each other's homes and played football in the parks that bordered their homes. They got to know each other's families, taking younger siblings under their wings.
But never racism.
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Then at 17, Patrick and his family moved further east, to Essex. Take a breath. Instead of overanalyzing and not letting yourself be vulnerable, they remind you that every answer you need — you already know! Your friends want to hear a mix of both. Want more of Bustle's Sex and Relationships coverage? Check out our new podcast, I Want It Talkkng Way, which delves into the difficult and downright dirty parts of a relationship, and find more on our Soundcloud.