Ebony -Jewel Cora-Lee Camellia Rosamond Rainford-Brent, a retired English cricketer, former captain of the Surrey Women’s team, and the first black woman to play for the England team spoke alongside Michael Holdings as part of Sky Sports Black Cricketers Matter program.
What she said in the interview
The program discusses issues of social injustice against Black Cricketers and how to eradicate it through a meaningful change in society.
Brent said she was showered with numerous derogatory remarks about her ethnicity that crushed her self confidence, comments like her long name meant her mother couldn’t tell who her father was and stuff like that.
“I grew up in a very cultural, diverse London with all sorts of colors, a melting pot, and I noticed as soon as I walked into the walk of cricket, that comments started. I had comments about where I grew up and how the fact that I had a long name meant maybe my mom didn’t know who my dad was, about my hair, body parts, especially the derriere, shall we say
” about the food I ate and that it stank, did I wash my skin? Everybody in your area gets stabbed. All these sorts of things were drip-fed constantly. It was difficult for me as a kid”.
She went on to talk about how she was never able to build the confidence to tell her bullies to back off or deal with who she was. She bled internally until recently, where she put up bravado to laugh off some of the comments.
“I have been in a team environment dealing with people constantly referring to ‘your lot,’ when things would happen like, Barack Obama becoming president of the USA. Having a paper thrown down in front of my face saying ‘your lot must be happy,’ the constant drip-drip was tough.
Brent said she completely understands people of color who come in the environment but are not able to make it through, and she has questioned sometimes, why she stayed for so long. She believes cricket has so much to offer, but it can get a tough day in day out.
According to her, being the first and only black woman to play for England at that time was excellent and bad, she felt proud but also uncomfortable because she didn’t want to be the only one.
Brent and Holding both agreed that institutionalized racism is a canker that must be eradicated through the right measures. She also made an important point concerning the fact that people of color do not get the chance to be part of boards of directors in governing bodies because of the same ‘structural problems. ‘
Indeed there are little or no opportunities coming through for people of color to be part of any decision-making board in any of the sporting disciplines.
Brent expects society to play its role in the fight against racial injustice
Brent expects the society to go forward only if people in power understand and feel what the people in the marginalized society feel and try their very best to make significant changes.” I think we have to be honest, and we are starting to have those conversations now,” said the former England Women player, now director of women’s cricket at Surrey.
“Unless people in power connect with and understand and feel what it is like to be on the side of limited power, not to get access to opportunities, to know you are significantly less likely to be hired and significantly more likely to be stopped and searched, to be oppressed, we won’t progress.”
As suggested by Brent, this shouldn’t be just a black people problem but everyone’s problem, its high time people find that everything is wrong with racism, that everything is wrong with making even small derogatory remarks against people of color.
Things you say to someone with them for a very long, the mental health and physical wellbeing of players and athletes should be a priority for higher-ups of sporting organizations.
Recently, British Olympic gymnasts also voiced out their concerns about the physical and mental abuse by coaches. Its high time we all understand that life is more than racial injustice or abuse, or inequality, people must learn to mind their businesses and stay in their lane.
Racial injustice must stop!