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Troy Deeney says Black History Month is great but it takes more than a few weeks to understand a race or country’s past

FOR Black History Month, The Sun is celebrating the achievements of black figures in British life.

Here Birmingham City footballer Troy Deeney talks about being proud of your heritage and what black history could be taught in schools.

HERITAGE for me is very complicated.

I come from a Jamaican background from the black side of my family but from the white side it was English and Irish.

There was a lot of different facets depending on what family party you went to. At a Jamaican party I got to see all my cousins and there are a lot of us.

There was music, good vibes and good food. If you see how big I am now, I have always enjoyed my food. They were the key parts. You got to hear Reggae.

When I was with my mum, while she liked her old school music, it was a mixture.

One minute it was ABBA, the next it could be Bon Jovi then Barry White.

But whatever party I was at, heritage for me has always been about being proud of who you are and where you come from whether you are black, white or blue.

As kids, we didn’t have to have our heritage pushed on us. The only thing we had pushed on us was religion. My nan was massive on us going to Saturday school and Sunday mass.

For the last 40 years she has always helped her church so even now she still cleans it. But it was all about making sure you are a good Christian, read the bible and do Lent.

I was lucky to live in such a mixed area

The heritage was always there, it was never not there. We didn’t have to dress or look a certain way, that was who we were.

There was no getting away from it so be the best version of you.

I was lucky. I lived in a very mixed area. I had black friends, white friends.

It is probably why I get on with most people now as that’s where I’m from. I never saw any difference.

The best way to describe it is that when me and my new partner got together, she didn’t know I was culturally as enlightened as I am.

There's so much more to black history

Black history for me holds two different things. Firstly, whether you are Asian, Jewish, or whatever, there is always a holiday for you.

Hanukkah, Chinese New Year, Eid, you can go on. As black people we don’t have anything.

So, a Black History Month is great, but then spin that and be controversial and say if we can fit all of black history into one month, maybe that’s not being told fully.

If someone asked me what Great Britain month is about and I just said ‘Winston Churchill’ everyone would say there is so much more and can tell so many different things.

You couldn’t fit most histories of certain races and countries and even the British Empire in one month.

There is so much that needs to be filled and spoken about, but it just becomes your generic three: Harriet Tubman, Malcom X, Martin Luther King. There is so much more to that.

If someone asked me what Great Britain month is about and I just said ‘Winston Churchill’ everyone would say there is so much more and can tell so many different things.

But when it comes to black history, especially at schools, you only get a bit about slavery.

I was lucky because my dad and my uncle were real big Mike Tyson fans.

When Tyson came out of jail had three of four different tattoos with the likes of Che Guevara on his body and others, and I would ask: ‘Who’s that dad?’

Whenever we heard a name from history, we would ask him.

From my own dad’s time in jail, he had read so many books and he was also a practising Muslim as well so he was able to talk to me about stuff.

So, if we learned something at school and something was a bit off or wrong, he made sure we knew.

BHM stirs up different emotions

I have been in mosques as a teenager understanding what goes on and how they pray, as an example.

So, when it came to black history, he was very keen to tell me. 

I learned so much about the Windrush generation that was never spoken about at school, and the weirdest thing about that is that was in the 70s.

The stuff in schools isn’t about where we are at now and what other people are doing about moving things forward.

Are Barrack Obama or Lewis Hamilton or Anthony Joshua being spoken about in schools? And that’s just modern day.

Imagine what that could be like if you went all the way through the 90s, 80s, 70s and so on.

So, this month represents two different emotions for me.

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