In 2016, black former professional footballer, Howard Gayle, was awarded an MBE, in recognition of his work in anti-racist education. He rejected the accolade due to its colonial associations and the experiences of his African ancestors under the British Empire. This article analyses and theorizes the geographical, cultural, political, historical and temporal contexts and consequences surrounding this refusal. While highlighting the fluid and reciprocal spatial and temporal positionalities that guide Gayle’s articulations, it argues that it is essentially through and in the local spaces and places of his home city of Liverpool–a pivotal location in the historic international slave trade–that his anti-imperial consciousness is forged and enacted. The article addresses the possibilities that emerge from demands for social and reparative justice by public figures such as Gayle, in terms of decolonial thinking, anti-racist pedagogy and their status as a source rather than an object of knowledge.
Bibliographical noteThis is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Ethnic and Racial Studies on 3/9/2019, available online: http://www.tandfonline.com/10.1080/01419870.2019.1654113