The Gate Keepers: They Believe They Own You

6 min readSep 18, 2022

You Are Celebrated but Never Elevated

Photo by the Author.

Yes, some might say it is a cliché; one lives in a world, well, in the Disunited Kingdom, where, as a black person, you have to work at least twice as hard as your white colleagues to succeed; this leads to a personality of wanting to please. One’s personality becomes excessively atuned to meeting others’ needs. The self, thus, becomes an illusion as one gets lost in the destitution of the heart.

As a student at university, this was my experience. The technicians sabotaged my work when they became aware that I was excelling. These so call white working-class technicians could not consternate me, a black man, bettering my white counterparts. And, so, in their eyes, I had to be bought down to the ground. Oh, those mornings of waking up at the crack of dawn, standing outside in the freezing cold in front of the workshop. My dreams were the lore that spurred me on. However, their intransigence slowly corroded the soul.

My managers demand that I perform as an employee and harbour no career advancement ambitions. I am the subservient fool, a tool to be used. I am solely there to further their career growth by ensuring they obtain KPIs.* My presence guarantees they achieve the results. I must be the good little black boy and be content with my lot. Consequently, I should frame my development within the realm of their ambitions. Some even sneer when I try to advance my career. Beneath their breath, I hear them say, ‘not a chance in hell.’ They leave and are replaced by another that I have to accommodate and entertain. My frame of reference never changes. I am the servant to their dreams, the vampires praying on my blood.

A leader once told me never mind the past because it is irrelevant. “Well, how far should one expand this statement?” You have the privilege of being able to forget history; unfortunately I don’t have this luxury because I am every day reliving it. Forget that you went above and beyond the expectations of your role. I interpreted he was telling me that my kind should not expect any thanks or gratitude because our lot in life is to serve their needs continuously. I was his possession in these scenarios — no better than a modern-day chattel slave; admittedly a paid one. My trauma was firstly psychological, which subsequently…


Interested in people, nature, science and technology, and history. MSc in Research Methods (Birkbeck), MA Industrial Design (UAL)