Former Mansfield Town player Nathan Arnold says 'we all need to acknowledge that our world is uneven' in full letter to MP Ben Bradley

Ex-Mansfield Town player Nathan Arnold, who is now a motivational speaker and life coach, wrote an open letter to MP Ben Bradley in response to his Facebook post.

Wednesday, 24th June 2020, 9:31 am
Nathan Arnold in action for Mansfield Town (Photo by Gary M. Prior/Getty Images)
Nathan Arnold in action for Mansfield Town (Photo by Gary M. Prior/Getty Images)

In his post, Mr Bradley explained his views on the Black Lives Matter movement, along with his views on the logo being displayed on premiership football shirts, which he wrote to the Premier League about last week.

Nathan wrote in his letter to the MP:

“I was born and raised in Mansfield and represented Mansfield Town football club for 11 years.

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Nathan Arnold who has written an open letter to Ben Bradley MP

“My two daughters were also born here.

“I am writing to you regarding the social media post you have written about Black Lives Matter – I did my due diligence and read your piece thoroughly, three times.

“In your statement you assert that our actions, even though peaceful, must be condemned because a small minority precipitate violence.

“First of all, I am really pleased that this is a subject matter being spoken about, and I am also pleased that this is an uncomfortable conversation to be had.

Nathan speaking to the crowds at a recent Black Lives Matter protest

“I want to thank you for your statement and applying energy to this conversation. This reflects all the great work being done to put the spotlight on injustice.

“I am sure you can appreciate that whenever there is an opportunity, you must grab it with both hands and look to generate some momentum and look at sustaining that momentum to get a desired outcome.

“Back to your article, I am an influencer and educator. I spent 14 years as a professional footballer having recently moved into giving service to others. I know what it feels like to be in a privileged position. So, as we share this same commonality, when reading some of your views and comments it was really hard to believe that this was coming from someone who is in such a position as yourself.

“You mentioned that ‘BLM creates inequality’. BLM is not a phrase as you mentioned, it is a campaign.

The peaceful protest which Nathan attended recently

“This you should understand, given the position you are in. The reason you may feel this creates separation is because of how you and many others have interpreted this message.

“Separation is created by how people choose to interpret BLM and how you react (out of the emotion), rather than respond (awareness).

“Going back to opportunity; When George Floyd was murdered, this was not an isolated incident. There have been hundreds of George Floyd’s up until this point. It just so happens that this was filmed for the world to see. For many years, the black community have been oppressed. And what happens is that, after the event of George Floyd comes a ‘natural’ reaction. There is an organised, responsible, peaceful protest which dates back to 2013 when BLM first began. This is not a ‘trend’ or ‘bandwagon’.

“Now, and you should know this, there were the MINORITY of people who began to vandalise, and this also included an organised group of people who were placed amongst the black community to create a distraction.

“Black people are born into a different world to white people and all we need is to acknowledge that our world is uneven.

“Inherited trauma is a real thing, and this is scientifically proven. Traumas get passed down from one generation to the other. So, what we are seeing is a lot of hurt, confusion, anger, resentment, and repeated cycles.

“In my line of work, I understand that if you are any kind of leader then first and foremost you will always be judged by the character of your heart. I am mindful that I must be the living example. I pride myself on paving the way for others and making sure my words match my actions.

“Knowledge and intellect is great, but it is not enough. You must reach far enough down into your own soul in order to be effective. And if you have not ever experienced racism to the extent of others then I really am struggling to see how your opinion can hold much weight.

“The reason I say this is because, the context you were coming from seemed to have some resistance in there.

“The very fact you stated “what they will actually achieve by choosing to support 'Black Lives Matter' is to increase and further entrench division”?

“Who is the ‘they’ you refer to?

“You also stated that “Black Lives Matter as an organisation isn't just about racism, it's also got a core message as an organisation of ripping down our establishment; the Police, our institutions, capitalism...”

“Maybe I expected better from someone who is an MP. I have taken a step back and observed what is happening to our world, in our communities and people revealing themselves as there is nowhere to hide. This statement and perspective is such lazy negotiating, when it comes to your intentions in ending racism.

“You have also used words like ‘far left’ ‘normal people’ and ‘far right’. This in itself creates separation with the language you are using to identify people.

“I could write a list of all of my own personal experiences I have had, growing up in your town, but I refuse to live in justification.

“I am a mixed raced man, which makes me a broad person when it comes to experiencing different cultures.

“I understand you have to construct a message and I respect your assertiveness when delivering your thoughts. I am sure it cannot be an easy thing to do, trying to understand something you have never experienced. I guess the easiest thing to do is to tread carefully and keep your reputation guarded.”

“What would be refreshing is someone in a position like yourself who plays such an important role for the people of our society, to educate and inspire new ways of thinking and challenge people’s perspective, values and beliefs in order to instigate real change.

“A protest is designed to make the status quo feel uncomfortable. It has certainly been effective as the black community are being noticed, even if you don’t really notice them. “When you counter-attack “Black Lives Matter” ask yourself why you feel offended, insecure, uncomfortable, or even angry? Where are those feelings coming from as a white person?

“I will explain this way: If there are 5 kids, and 1 of those 5 kids were stung by a wasp, would you treat all 5 kids?

“We as a human race need to treat the black community who are hurting, scarred and vulnerable.

“If we cannot find it within ourselves to be emotionally available and try to understand people, what chance do we have in closing the gap on racism?

“Our attitude of the people in this country here in the UK, is that it is okay if it happened 4,000 miles away but as soon as it lands on our radar it will not be tolerated.

“Even to the point where the UK I believe, and quote me if I am wrong, was the only country out of 80 countries around the world that started up an anti-protest against BLM?

“It is not good enough to redirect the conversation because a small minority of people have given people ammunition.

“White people are the benchmark. We need to be better and do better.

“Our future generations are watching us and are looking at us for guidance. They need the support and encouragement. We need to hold ourselves accountable. If we cannot help them then we need to get out of their way and hold the space for them to find a way.

“Using the terms ‘left wing’ and ‘right wing’ in itself create separation, which you claim other people are doing with ‘black lives matter’ and ‘white lives matter’.

“This is sending out mixed signals and giving people who see you as a leader and role model permission that it is okay.

“It is not okay.

“I invite you to meet in person and discuss things in much greater detail on how we could work together to make a difference in our communities.

In fact, I challenge you to reflect on this and open up to the possibilities that are available to you.

“If you have read this to the end, thank you. If I have said anything in this letter that overstates the truth then please forgive me.

“Let’s hope that these dark clouds of racial prejudice will soon dissipate, and we can have a much better tomorrow.”

To read Ben Bradley’s post, click here.